||Es handelt sich wohl um eine Docu-Fiction ante litteram, einer biographischen Kurzdokumentation, in denen die Personen der Realität gespielt werden.
William G. Lennox. Epilepsy and related disorder. 1960, S. 711 ff und 1052. Lennox erkennt im Film eine neues Mittel zur Aufklärung über Epilepsie und zitiert dazu zwei Beispiele: "The dark wave" von Negulesco nach der autobiographischen Erzählung von Margiad Evans "Ray of darkness" und den Informationsfilm "Children with epilepsy" (1958) der American Health Association.
from Toba Kerson's notes: 12 yr old standing straight up – pulls hands both up to the waist, both jerking, staring straight ahead, never falls – right after resumes conversations – narrator talks about blackouts occurring at school and at home lasting no more than 8 or 10 seconds. Debbie Daniels – epilepsy clinic – epilepsy remains an illness with a stigma.
Margiad Evans Conference
A conference to celebrate one of Wales’ most influential Welsh writers in English is to be held on 15 May at The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Dr Kirsti Bohata
Margiad Evans (1909-1958) is best known for her border writing and novel Country Dance (1932) which features in the ‘Library of Wales’ series of classics, but she was also an extraordinary short-story writer, novelist, autobiographer and poet. She died aged 49 of a brain tumour, having suffered severe epilepsy for some time. As well as being an important woman writer, her descriptions of her illness are attracting medical attention.
Dr Kirsti Bohata, of the Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales (CREW) at Swansea University is organising the event. Here she gives some insight into the life and legacy of Margiad Evans.
Margiad Evans at desk
“Margiad Evans also known as Peggy Whistler was born in England but established a profound attachment to the borders area of Ross on Wye when a child, and it is here that she sets most of her fiction and poetry. She had a difficult childhood, after her father had to retire with an alcohol-related illness, and remembered a year spent with an aunt on the Welsh borders as an idyllic interlude in her life. Her relationship with her mother, also a brilliant woman in her own way, was troubled.
Margiad Evans’s evocative writing conveys a strong sense of life on the rural Welsh border in the ‘twenties and ‘thirties. Her historical romance, Country Dance (1928) is a skillful representation of the cultural tensions of the borders. The short stories written during the war and published in 1948 are appreciated by some readers as depicting a well-known and vividly realised place; other readers are most aware of how Evans makes place reflective of the emotional and spiritual lives of her characters and her own concerns as an artist. Evans’s vividly imagined landscape is also indebted to the neo-romantic versions of rural Britain which became increasingly important as Britain headed into a second world war.
“Today, Margiad Evans is best remembered for Country Dance, a novella which continues to speak to modern readers in its complex representation of cultural conflict characteristic of borderlands. What makes Evans’s writing particularly appealing is her refusal to simplify or to divide her characters along clear ethnically defined lines. “To the border!”, she has one of her characters toast, and it is her interest in the complexity and tension of a border identity that gives her writing such power and relevance today.
“Margiad Evans’s life was cut short by a terrible illness, epilepsy, which was followed by the diagnosis of a brain tumour which lead to her early death, on the evening of her forty-ninth birthday, in 1958. In her short life, she was recognized by writers and critics in Wales and Britain as a significant literary voice. She is one of the few Welsh women writers who has been consistently represented in anthologies of Welsh writing in English. She excelled at the short story, with her quirky, often awkward characters who exist in the margins, or on the borders of rural communities and who often deliberately set themselves apart. She writes about the elderly, about love between women, about elusive, enigmatic characters. She is concerned with the artist and the creative imagination. Most of all, perhaps, she is concerned with the landscape of the borders and the many meanings, local and figurative, she effortlessly invests in the places she loved.
Margiad Evans with papers conference image
“In addition to a sustained literary appreciation of Margiad Evans as one of the most significant twentieth-century English-language writers of Wales, Margiad Evans is being ‘rediscovered’ by the medical community as it becomes more interested in patient experiences. Margiad Evans also wrote a dauntingly moving description of her last illness, The Nightingale Silenced. The text remains unpublished, but has generated the interest of the International League Against Epilepsy, a large organization based in Europe and directed by a Danish neurologist Peter Wolf, which has recently funded the transcription of this tortured, fractured text. Presciently, perhaps, Margiad Evans makes repeated use of tropes of illness in her earlier writing. Her first novel The Wooden Doctor is an autobiographical novel in which the teenage girl protagonist’s mysterious illness seems in some way linked with a troublesome sexuality, while in Creed a central female character has breast cancer which has considerable bearing on her relationship with both her husband and her close friend.
“At the centenary of her birth, Margiad Evans’s work is receiving a timely and welcome resurgence of interest. The conference organised by CREW, Swansea University, and taking place at the National Library of Wales (where there is an extensive Margiad Evans archive) attempts to represent some of the most important approaches to Margiad Evans’s work. The lectures engage with her literary, medical, biographical and archival legacy, while digital displays of her artwork (professional commissions and more personal family works) will bring to the fore another of the accomplishments of this extraordinary woman.”
For further information about the conference, please visit:
Charles Bickford, Nancy Davis, Cornell Borchers