Welsh 'gene' thrives on defeat

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The Independent Online

The Welsh may struggle with the concept of a credible rugby team, but defeats on and off the pitch only help them thrive.

New research claims that the Welsh possess a cultural survival "gene", triggered only when their identity is under threat.

When confronted with adversity, they respond with a burst of creative energy rather than defeatism, says Professor Jane Aaron, of the University of Glamorgan.

"A threatening attack on Welsh identity is typically followed by a creative advance in Welsh culture, which revitalises the Welsh identity," she said.

The tendency can be traced back to long before Tom Jones and Charlotte Church. During the 13th century, the violent death of the great bard Llywellyn immediately pre-dated Welsh poetry's golden age.

Professor Aaron will outline her theory in the Institute of Welsh Affairs lecture tomorrow at the National Eisteddfod in Newtown, Powys.