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Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery

George Henry Borrow

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Young—Poets of the Gael—The Oxonian—Master Salisburie.

My wife had told me that she had had some conversation upon the Welsh language and literature with a venerable old man, who kept a shop in the town, that she had informed him that I was very fond of both, and that he had expressed a great desire to see me.  One afternoon I said: “Let us go and pay a visit to your old friend of the shop.  I think from two or three things which you have told me about him, that he must be worth knowing.”  We set out.  She conducted me across the bridge a little way; then presently turning to the left into the principal street, she entered the door of a shop on the left-hand side, over the top of which was written: “Jones; Provision Dealer and General Merchant.”  The shop was small, with two little counters, one on each side.  Behind one was a young woman, and behind the other a venerable-looking old man.

“I hav. . . Read More

Community Reviews

was fuer ei n interessantes kleines buch! borrow ist durch wales gewandert, sprach auch sehr gut walisisch und hat auf seinen wanderungen immer den kontakt zu den menschen gesucht und konnte mit seinen dialogen mehr ueber die waliser herausfinden als jemand anderes zu seiner lebenszeit erreichen...more

Wild Wales is the account of George Burrows' walk through Wales in 1854. Now, we are not talking about a little walk, we are talking about months of walking across a major portion of Wales. He starts in Chester and enters Wales traveling to Wrexham and then on to Llangollen. He spends some time a...more

Borrow was in his early 50s when he began his walking tour of Wales. He recounts conversations and vistas, reflecting an interesting time before cars but after trains. The Industrial Revolution is at hand, and the landscape is suffering, but the people still walk barefoot upon the road and dress...more

Very enjoyable and readable - why haven't I read this before now? George Borrow was a great eccentric and what in Welsh is known as a "iaithgi", a largely self-taught linguist who acquired a knowledge of many languages, including Welsh. This book is an account of a trip he made to Wales in 1854,...more

This was much more readable than either Lavengro or Romany Rye - I think there were fewer tall tales in this work as well. His descriptions of the Welsh landscape are beautifully written, and his love of the language is evident. While I can't believe the Welsh peasants talked quite as fluently as...more

I've read and re-read Wild Wales many times. It remains for me the most evocative travel book ever written, and brings us closer to the real George Borrow than any of his other works. Wild Wales gives a stunning picture of how Wales would have been in 1854, not just the topography but the industr...more

The next time I read one of his books, I will make sure I have a large-scale map so I can follow along with his travels. I found it very interesting as he noted the opinions and languages of the many people he spoke to. The amount of ale he consumed is astounding! His memory for poetry is remarka...more

Though it is a long read this is a highly entertaining one. Published in 1862, George Borrow rambled around a huge area of Wales on foot, searching for the birthplaces of Welsh poets and bards, warming himself by the fire of every inn he went past and talking to those from every station and way o...more

The text of this book was first published in 1862. It remains essential reading for any tourist visiting Wales, because Borrow so graphically and beautifully describes the innate character of the people of Wales. As a generalisation that character is still recognisable today (2011).

The quality o...more

A travelogue from a vanished world! Borrow walked through wild Wales, detailing his experiences and those he meets. The book provides a window in to a world where the first language of Welsh people was the mam iaith, the mother tongue. The book contains snippets of Welsh myth and legend. My own g...more

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