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National Library of Wales
Hemon, Roparz, Breton manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 ROPMON

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Roparz Hemon Collection of Breton Manuscripts

Short Title: Hemon, Roparz, Breton manuscripts

Creation date(s): [18th-19th century] (accumulated [1948]-1973)

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.067 cubic metres (3 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Roparz Hemon


Administrative/Biographical history: Roparz Hemon (born Louis P. Nemo), Breton writer and scholar, was born in Brest, France, the second of six children. He trained as an English teacher, studying English and History at Leeds University. In 1922, Nemo began writing in Breton; his short story 'An Diouganer' was published in 1923, under the pseudonym Roparz Loeiz Hemon. Soon afterwards, he dropped the Loeiz and signed himself Roparz Hemon; this became his name within the Breton nationalist movement. He launched the literary journal Gwalarn with Olier Mordrel in 1925. During the Nazi Occupation, he was appointed Director of Radio-Rennes and the station began regular broadcasts in Breton. This ended with the Allied invasion of France in 1944, and the French government accused many Breton nationalists of collaboration with the Germans. Together with other Breton nationalists, he was sentenced to ten years 'indignite nationale'. In July 1947, he addressed the Celtic Congress meeting in Dublin on the unification of Breton. Under restrictions, he moved to Ireland, where he worked at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. Despite a general amnesty, he decided to remain in Ireland. He published La Langue Bretonne et ses Combats (La Baule, 1947). Although he spent forty years in exile, he was an influential figure in Breton cultural affairs, and part of his campaign for oral literature was the increasing emphasis he placed on the theatre. From 1945-1971, he published seventeen plays. He attended the Celtic Congress in Bangor, Wales, in 1949, during which the Breton branch of the Celtic Congress was established. He died in 1978 and was buried in Brest.


Scope and content/abstract: Twenty two Breton manuscripts, comprising religious plays and sermons, [18th-19th centuries], acquired by Roparz Hemon, and listed in Revue Celtique V, pp. 327-8.


Language/scripts of material: Breton

System of arrangement: Arranged into plays and sermons.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Apart from no. 15 (given to Roparz Hemon by Father A. Calvez of Lannion), the manuscripts belonged to the Breton scholar, Emile Ernault of Saint-Brieuc. After his death, they were acquired by Father L. Le Floc'h, parish priest of Louannac, who gave them to Roparz Hemon. Most of them (nos 1-11) were collected in the nineteenth century by J. M. Lejean. They formed part of the collection of Leon Bureau of Nantes.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies per the late Professor David Greene, M.A. in 1981.


Related material: His personal papers are NLW, Roparz Hemon Papers.


Note: Title compiled from content of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW Project. The following sources were used for the preparation of the description: NLW annual report 1980/81, p. 75; NLW Schedule of Roparz Hemon Manuscripts; NLW Schedule Of Roparz Hemon Papers; National Library of Wales Journal, vol. 32, no. 2 (2001); Morgan, Sylvia, "Roparz Hemon and the Breton cultural movement in the twentieth century" (D.Phil. Thesis, University of Oxford, 1979).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2003

Breton literature
Religious drama, Breton
Sermons, Breton

Personal names
Hemon , Roparz

Corporate names

Brittany (France)

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