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National Library of Wales
Hemon, Roparz, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 RHEMON

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Roparz Hemon Papers

Short Title: Hemon, Roparz, papers

Creation date(s): 1925-1978

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.702 cubic metres (41 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'. 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 to 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: Literary, research and personal papers of Louis P. Nemo, 'Roparz Hemon' (1900-1978), comprising personal and general correspondence, 1941, 1947-1978; manuscript and typescript drafts of novels and novellas, short stories, poetry and plays; drafts of articles by Roparz Hemon and collected by him as editor of Ar Bed Keltiek; research papers, including notes and transcripts of Breton literary texts; miscellaneous fragments of manuscript and typescript draft translations into English; personal papers, including papers collected by Roparz Hemon or submitted to him by other authors and scholars; notebooks relating to the Breton language, drafts of Breton dictionaries including Geriadur Istorel ar Brezhoneg, and drafts of articles on the Breton language; notes on other Celtic languages, including Irish, Welsh and Manx, and notes on Esperanto; papers relating to organisations of Breton or Celtic interest including Skourr Breizh ar C'hendalc'h Keltiek, the Breton Branch of the Celtic Congress; papers of other Bretons, including Francois Vallée (1860-1949) and Dr Louis Dujardin (1885-1969); and miscellaneous notes and papers, [1940s-1950s], chiefly relating to Breton and Irish, mainly in the hand of Anton Ar Roue, cook and gardener to Roparz Hemon.


Language/scripts of material: Predominantly Breton; others are in French, English, Welsh, Irish, Cornish, Esperanto and Manx.

System of arrangement: Arranged into two groups, namely papers donated in 1985-1986, and papers donated in 1989, 1991 and 1992. The 1985-1986 group is arranged into the following categories: correspondence, literary works, translations, historiography, journalism, research papers, and personal and miscellaneous papers. The second group is arranged by the following: correspondence; literary works; translations; journalism; research papers; societies; personal and miscellaneous papers; papers of other Bretons.

Conditions governing access: Numbers 1-32, 88-91, 394-396 will not be made available to readers until 2006 except with the written permission of Fanch Kerrein, Prezidant, Envor Roparz Hemon, and his successors (exemption S.40 Freedom of Information Act 2000). Numbers 400-410, 570, 571, 578-583 will not be made available to readers until 2012 except with the written permission of Fanch Kerrein, Prezidant, Envor Roparz Hemon, and his successors (exemption S.40 Freedom of Information Act 2000). 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: Hard copies of the catalogues (Group I and II) are available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Roparz Hemon papers were sorted and collected after his death by Ivona Martin.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by An Aotrou Per Denez and An Aotrou Bernard Le Nail, November 1985. Two items (nos 379 and 395) were donated separately in January 1986. Further groups were donated by Per Denez in August 1989, April 1991 and May 1992.


Related material: His books and periodicals are also held at NLW. Letters from Reporz Hemon are to be found in other NLW archives, including Papurau T. Gwynn Jones, J. Dyfnallt Owen Papers, Dr Noelle Davies Papers, and Papurau Kate Roberts. A group of Breton MSS formerly in the possession of Roparz Hemon has been deposited at NLW.


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, 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

Authors, Breton
Breton drama
Breton language
Breton language | Dictionaries
Breton literature
Breton poetry
Celtic languages
Dujardin, Louis | Archives
Hemon, Roparz | Archives
Irish language
Skour Breiz ar Chendalch Keltiek (Society) | Records and correspondence
Welsh language

Personal names
Dujardin , Louis
Hemon , Roparz
Roue , Anton Ar
Vallée , F. (François) , 1860-1949

Corporate names

Brittany (France)

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