Other Literary Forms (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
Rhys Davies’ Ram with Red Horns (1996) stimulated renewed reader interest and prompted requests for reprints of some of his other novels. Davies’ novels include The Black Venus (1944); The Dark Daughters (1947), based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear; The Perishable Quality (1957), which includes an affectionate portrait of Dylan Thomas. Davies has written plays and nonfiction. Adaptations of Davies’ novels and short stories have been produced for radio and television.
Achievements (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
During World War II, Rhys Davies worked in the British War Office (1941-1942). He was honored as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1968). He received the Welsh Arts Council prize (1971). Mystery Writers of America presented him with the Edgar Allan Poe Award for “The Chosen One” (1966). His stories and articles appeared regularly in magazines.
Bibliography (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
Adam, G. F. “Rhys Davies.” Three Contemporary Anglo-Welsh Novelists: Jack Jones, Rhys Davies, and Hilda Vaughan. Bern: Franke, 1950. Analysis discusses Davies’ childhood impressions of religion, the influence of D. H. Lawrence’s erotic philosophy, sociological conflicts in Wales brought about by industrialization, recurring themes in Davies’ short stories, Davies’ characterizations (especially of strong women), and Davies’ sense of humor.
Davies, Philippa. Introduction to Ram with Red Horns. Chester Springs, Pa.: Dufor Editions, 1996. A professor at the University of Wales, Philippa Davies has explored Rhys Davies’ fiction as it relates to history. She predicts that revived interest in his realistic work will result in a new biography, a new short-story anthology, and adaptations for television. She discusses ways in which Davies’ was contradictory on social and political issues, in his ethnicity, and in his personal life.
Davies, Rhys. Preface to The Collected Stories of Rhys Davies. London: Heinemann, 1955. Davies explains that he chose the forty-three stories in the anthology because they are his favorites. He has organized them to avoid monotony. Comic stories follow tragic, and Welsh settings follow London. In metaphorical terms he compares the short story to a small garden, while a novel is like a littered public park. He compares humor to “a rascal that must be kept in control.” Humor should “steal on a reader, unsuspected.” Davies prefers “dark funereal tales, though not always.”
Davies, Rhys. Print of a Hare’s Foot. London: Heinemann, 1969, 1997. Davies’ memoir gives insight into his boyhood experiences in Clydach Vale. Especially interesting are his conversations with D. H. Lawrence. Includes entertaining anecdotes and descriptions of various women friends, like Nina Hamnett, and landladies, whom he calls “keyhole spies.” However, Davies is evasive about much of his personal life.
Rees, David. Rhys Davies. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1975. Analyses of novels written between 1954 and 1970: characterizations, settings and moods, the theme of the struggle for sexual and social dominance, assessment of Davies’ portrayal of Welsh life, personal style as a creative writer, characterizations, regional settings, and universal themes.