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The ‘Welsh’ Pimpernel: Richard Llewellyn and the search for authenticity in Second World War Britain

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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cultural and Social History on 15 March 2019, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780038.2019.1585315

    Accepted author manuscript, 525 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-203
JournalCultural and Social History
Issue number2
Early online date15 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


Achieving worldwide success in 1939 with his bestselling novel, How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn became indelibly linked with a particular vision of Wales and Welshness. Yet, when it posthumously emerged that Llewellyn was not Welsh but an Englishman of Welsh parentage he faced accusations of fakery which rested upon contested understandings of diasporic identity claims. Mapping Llewellyn’s military service in the Welsh Guards and wartime work with the BBC for the first time, this article traces the author’s complex negotiation of selfhood during the Second World War. Overall, it highlights how Llewellyn was embraced as a cultural representative of transnational Welshness within a wider British and imperial nation and underlines the potential of dual identifications in underpinning constructions of Britishness during the war.

    Research areas

  • dual identities, Second World War, Englishness, Welshness, Britishness

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