Research Articles

James Laughlin, American Modernism and Post World War II Welsh Writing in English



James Laughlin, who founded New Directions Press in 1936, had an early and enduring commitment to publishing innovative European authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Louis Ferdinand Céline, Hermann Hesse, García Lorca, Eugenio Montale, Vladimir Nabokov and Pablo Neruda. Laughlin’s international ambitions as a publisher extended to engaging with contemporary British writers and journal editors demonstrating a modernist dimension, evidenced in his extensive correspondence. This essay explores ways in which Laughlin furthered the New Direction Press publishing objectives within the post World War II English-language literary culture of Wales, including his interactions with Dylan Thomas, editors Keidrych Rhys and Gwyn Jones, and significant poets and fiction writers emerging in Wales during the 1940s. While Laughlin was informing Welsh writers and editors about New Directions Press authors and titles – and thus about manifestations of international modernism – Welsh writers and editors in turn educated Laughlin about the burgeoning English-language literary culture of Wales. 

Keywords: modernism, Welsh Writing in English, poetry

How to Cite: Lloyd, D. (2023) “James Laughlin, American Modernism and Post World War II Welsh Writing in English”, International Journal of Welsh Writing in English. 10(1). doi: