Dr Rachel Bromwich (1915 – 2010)

Dr Rachel BromwichRachel Bromwich, former lecturer and reader in Celtic languages and literature in the Department, died in Aberystwyth on 15 December 2010 at the age of 95. She was born in Brighton and grew up in Egypt and Cumbria. After graduating in English at Newnham College, Cambridge, she studied Welsh in Bangor under the great Welsh scholar, Sir Ifor Williams, and Irish at The Queen’s University, Belfast, before coming back to Cambridge in 1945 as lecturer, and subsequently reader, where she remained until her retirement in 1976.

Her greatest work, which continues to be a central work of the scholarship on medieval Welsh literature, was Trioedd Ynys Prydein, an edition of the literary triads of the Island of Britain, first published in 1961 with a second edition in 1978 and a third in 2006. The quality of the editorial work together with its notes and indices ensured that it became, and indeed remains to this day, an indispensable work of reference for all scholars and students of medieval Welsh literature. In addition, among her numerous publications, she produced with D. Simon Evans the standard edition of the medieval Welsh prose-tale, Culhwch ag Olwen (Welsh edition in 1988, with an English edition published in 1992), and carried out important research on Dafydd ap Gwilym culminating in her Gwasg Gomer edition and translation of a selection of his poems which appeared in 1982; this is by far the most accessible introduction to his poetry for English-speaking students.

Her name will remain prominent within the work of the Department: for it is rare for any topic on medieval Welsh literature to be considered in class or written about in supervision essays without her name and her work figuring somewhere in the bibliography and discussion.

See also http://news.bbc.co.uk/welsh/hi/newsid_9290000/newsid_9290900/9290918.stm