Printer Friendly

The 1904-05 Welsh revival: modernization, technologies, and techniques of the self.


Surveying the short history of pentecostalism in 1925, Frank Bartelman--a consummate "insider historian'--reckoned that although the Azusa Street revival had become "full grown" in Los Angeles, California, it was "rocked in the cradle of little Wales." (1) In pentecostal historiography much ink has been spilled connecting the causal dots of precedence. (2) From whence did the movement come? Los Angeles? India? Topeka, Kansas? Historians of pentecostalism are cognizant of the 1904-05 Welsh revival; they readily acknowledged that it in some way influenced the Apostolic Faith Mission in Los Angeles. My goal here is not necessarily to argue one way or another but rather to resurrect from the dustbin of history a significant event that deserves its own due. This is a story, argues historian Rhodri Hayward, that "has been largely forgotten." (3)

Hayward suggests, tongue-in-cheek, that a history of the revival cannot be written. (4) It cannot because, according to revival enthusiasts, there was no origin outside the providence of God. Although refreshingly innovative, his work on the revival broadly conforms to a disciplinary tradition within religious history of privileging psychology to explicate religious phenomena, particularly ecstatic or charismatic varieties. (5) Other elements, such as socioeconomic processes and practices, play a formative discursive role, as do anthropological models. Yet, the search for internal causality dominates. In his study Hayward juxtaposes the advent of "new psychology" against the revival and argues that both are byproducts of the same turn-of-the-century program--a search for selfhood within the human consciousness, what he calls the "Inner Empire." That program failed, miserably: "The subversions and ruses practiced by both ecstatics and psychologists became possible because they lacked any anchor into the material life, and in the end it was this lack of any anchor which became their undoing." (6) Others have been less judgmental, although similarly inclined methodologically. Janice Holmes focuses in her study, Religious Revivals in Britain and Ireland, 1859-1905, "not so much on the character and distribution of revivals, but on the individuals involved"; she seeks "to examine their attitudes, beliefs and responses to the phenomenon." (7) These historians all privilege the "subject," focusing on the interior worlds of individuals as the most fruitful way of locating causality and explaining context. (8)

The revival began in the fall of 1904, more or less led by a band of revivalists, notably the twenty-six-year-old former collier and minister-in-training Evan Roberts. While the main thrust of it lasted less than a year, in that period 100,000 converts were made. That meant total participation easily ran several times that figure and probably manifold more. It affected all of South Wales, then penetrated further afield--into North Wales, England, the rest of the Britain, and finally overseas, infiltrating both Nonconformist and Established Churches and inspiring, directly, the birth of modern-day pentecostalism. Revival meetings lasted hours on end, in some places occurring almost daily. By any account they were a sight to behold. Not always but often enough, they were filled with great fervor and emotion, with loud boisterous singing and deep wailing in prayers that moved (and/or frightened) sinner and saint alike. Some thought it a genuine move of God, others mass hysteria. The results were stunning. Admittedly, the 1904-05 revival had a long tradition of revivals to build upon in Wales--the 1858-59 revival being the last-and it had a religious culture that still held chapel attendance in high regard, but none, no other movement, quite compared to this, the first distinctly modern religious revival. (10)

Raymond Williams argued that the long revolution of modernity was actually marked by three concurrent revolutions, all arising out of the masses, the nineteenth century's new societal force: the democratic revolution, the industrial revolution, and the cultural revolution. Modernity, the masses, and modernization--all conspire together. The Welsh revival was modern as an outgrowth of these three concurrent revolutions, which shall be the focus of this essay. For the industrial revolution, I shall focus on mass public transit--namely, the railway system--using Bruno Latour's work on technology as "actant" as a theoretical tool. (12) Although the railway network was well developed before century's end, it continued through the Edwardian period to exert a tremendous influence. My discussion of the democratic revolution looks less to institutional politics, more to the dispersal of power through the entire social body, to the formation in this instance of a movement not governed by one individual or group of individuals but by the "rule of freedom." Here I am especially indebted to Michel Foucault, Patrick Joyce, Nikolas Rose, and others. (13) Williams located the last revolution, the cultural revolution, primarily within the emergence of mass communication. Central to that was the explosion of the daily press. For that analysis I make use of the theoretical writings of Richard Terdiman, as well as Vanessa Schwartz, Laurel Brake, and Aled Jones. (14) There are other revolutions that Williams does not address, but I will, particularly of time and space. A debt is owed in my analysis here to Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, the Situationist International, and, again, Foucault. (15) This revival was not a hermetically sealed religious movement, as this essay seeks to demonstrate, but was in fact very much part of the warp and woof of Britain's modernization.


The 1904-05 Welsh revival was described as a modern-day Pentecost. (16) To frame and explain the revival, ministers looked to the Book of Acts, particularly chapter 2, for it alone seemed most accurately to describe what was taking place in the valleys of South Wales. That passage narrates the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem and the birth of the Christian Church. Revivalists gravitated especially toward Acts 2:15-18, which provides a theological explanation for the event:
 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the
 third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by
 the prophet Joel; "And it shall come to pass in the last days,
 saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your
 sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall
 see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my
 servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of
 my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." (18)

Something like this, something quite inexplicable, was blowing through the valleys.

The two most distinguishable and remarked-upon characteristics of the revival were the rapidity with which it spread and the lack of organization. Near universally participants insisted that no human leader was orchestrating or controlling it. None could, so spectacular and unpredictable was its growth. (19) If forced to acknowledge at least one leader, doubtless they would have fingered Roberts. Even he was adamant, however: "I am not the source of this revival. I am only one agent in what is growing to be a multitude." (20) What was particularly appealing about Acts 2:15-18 was the idea that some force--the Holy Spirit--would be poured upon all people, like a mighty rushing wind, without human interference or manipulation. At its fulfillment this act would declare and unleash the true democratization of spirituality. "There," one commentator averred, "man is nowhere and God is everywhere. There machinery is nil, and the Spirit has unfettered sway." (21) The central focus here is on the Holy Spirit's movement and agency--not humanity's response--a movement that was rapid, ubiquitous, and overpowering.

"I am resolved to get the Holy Spirit," Roberts declared in his youth. (22) According to biographer and minister D. M. Philips, this was no capricious declaration. One gets the impression from reading Philips's rather uncritical hagiography that the former collier cared little for things terrestrial. His devotion reached a feverish pitch in the summer of 1904 when he began what apparently became, at least for several months, a daily ritual of waking at one a.m. for four or more hours of prayer--times, he later recalled, of "most divine, light, and happy communion." (23) While interviewing this zealous modern-day mystic, the famed journalist W. T. Stead quizzically asked, "Were you not dreaming?" The answer was a definite no. (24) Roberts felt destiny calling, and there was the hard work of praying to be done. In a poem titled "Expectations," he penned these optimistic (and telling) lines:
 Time swiftly moves from day to day;
 We see its footprints on our way.
 It rushes with bewildering light,
 And changes all things in its flight;
 But, yet, its movements lag behind
 The aspirations of the mind--Fond
 Memory clings to days gone by,
 But Hope must to the future fly. (25)

There is nothing that Roberts wanted more than to be close to God, to feel God's presence and leave this world behind--to be taken to a place where time had no bearing, to be led completely by the Holy Spirit. The ecstasy of his path-laying prayers climaxed on September 29, 1904, during a religious meeting conducted by Rev. Seth Joshua, in Blaenanerch, Wales:
 [S]ome wonderful influence came over me. After many had prayed
 I felt some living energy or force entering my bosom, it held my
 breath, my legs trembled terribly; this living energy increased
 and increased as one after the other prayed until it nearly
 burst me, and as each finished I asked [the Holy Spirit], "Shall
 I pray now?" ... My bosom boiled all through, and had it not been
 that I prayed, I would have burst.... I fell on my knees, with my
 arms outstretched on the seat before me, the perspiration poured
 down my face and my tears streamed quickly until I thought that the
 blood came out. (26)

The testimony of this experience was widely circulated later in the revival, confirming Roberts's devotion and fixing a date for what was a marked turn in Roberts's life. Before this experience he longed for the Holy Spirit; after, more confident, he claimed that he had gained something new, something that burned like a fire within. He had lost "all nervousness" and could "sing all day long," something he could not do before because of illness and lack of strength. (27) All of this was of great import for a young man who felt God leading him into what he reckoned would be the greatest revival Wales had ever known.

Roberts was, in another man's words, "a true 'sky-pilot."' (28) The revivalist wanted to be unencumbered by the world, to soar like an eagle. Or you might say a dove. In praying that he would be filled completely and guided solely by the Holy Spirit, he did not want simply to feel closer to God. Rather, he sought to refashion himself after the Holy Spirit, to mimic the Holy Spirit. There were moral and ethical dimensions to this "self-fashioning"; holiness was important to Roberts. There were implications, however, for bodily practices, for how Roberts viewed the movements of his own unfettered body. In a letter written to his biographer, Philips, and a Mr. Lloyd, dated October 9, 1905, he confided: "It is a mistake for me to try and arrange, and carry out my future. The people cannot understand why I do not move; and I fail to understand why I am staying! But this I know, that I am moving swifter than ever--so swift, indeed, that I cannot perceive myself moving." (29) Roberts was apparently unable to predict and control his own movements, which were "swifter than ever."

After hearing Roberts describe his four-hours-a-night marathons of prayer--during which he spoke with God "face to face as a man speaks with a friend"--W. T. Stead pressed for more details:

"May I ask," I said, "If He of whom you speak appeared to you as Jesus Christ?"

"No," said Mr. Roberts, "not so; it was the personal God, not as Jesus."

"As God the Father Almighty?" I said.

"Yes," said Mr. Roberts, "and the Holy Spirit." (30)

The theological implications here are easily overlooked. John 1 in the Christian New Testament demarcates the uniqueness of Jesus' nature in the Trinity. (31) It begins with the oft quoted, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (32) Verse 14 states, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (NAS). The incarnation of "the Word" pinpoints the specificity of God's bodily existence in flesh in time and space. The Holy Spirit, however, lacks this specificity (is, in a word, God disincarnate). Lacking that anthropological expression, the Holy Spirit is often symbolized by a dove. (33) The closest description of natural form and movement is that of the wind, which indicates power and unpredictability. (34) "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (35) The mysterious, all-knowing, transcendent Holy Spirit is thus bound by neither time nor space. By specifically identifying with the Holy Spirit, as opposed to the incarnate Jesus, Roberts was appealing to identifiable characteristics of the Trinity that he found discursively most useful for his self-fashioning. Power and unpredictability were two, but there were others--with direct spatial and temporal dimensions.

Roberts, in the revival, overcame time. According to a widely circulated story, none of his watches could actually keep the time; they were always running slower than he was. (36) He overcame it by refusing to be governed by it. The four-hours-a-night prayer sessions were just the beginning. In the fall of 1904, to launch the revival, he began holding daily, public prayer/revival meetings in his parents' village, Loughor. At first they lasted for several hours, but within days they were running until two or three o'clock in the morning--then to six and seven a.m. The crowds grew larger, Roberts's diary filled, and the pace quickened. Legend has it that the revivalist only needed one hour of sleep a night (37) and sometimes got none at all. (38) If he was not in a revival meeting, he was on his way to one; it was a schedule he kept up for several months with little reprieve. Darting from one meeting to the next, sometimes attending five and six in a day, he could have been a poster child for the emerging "cult of speed." (39) Though doubtless overstated, this eye-witness account of a service captures the effect of Roberts's frenetic pace:
 A single sentence catches the attention of everyone in the
 building, for it is at once short, quiet, and vigorous. The tone
 is conversational, and the eyes are friendly. He begins to pace
 up and down, turning to the people with short, rapid phrases, and
 accentuating them with tense, earnest gestures as short and jerky
 as his speech.... He is seldom still, but when he is you can feel
 the restrained intensity. The movements are not those of a
 high-strung, nervous force, but of a superabundant vital energy.

The rapid gesturing, staccato speech, and constant movement continue; then "suddenly it is over, and he sits down." Meetings varied, and effects varied, but the speed did not.

He overcame time by mysteriously living in an immediate, ever-expanding Bergsonian present. Depending on the Holy Spirit for every movement--that is the impression given at least--Roberts made most decisions "in the moment." "As for the future," he was wont to say, "I know not what to do. I am simply in the hands of the Holy Spirit." (41) This was true in the revival meetings--there were no plans; complete dependence on the Holy Spirit was essential--and without (he refused to keep an enforced revival schedule). Anything planned smacked of the "flesh," that is, of human interference or agency. Each day was new, unbound by the day before: "In the past, I believed that the line from my eyes to the horizon was the radius of life's circle. Ah, me! I know now that life has no horizon, nor sleep, turning circle after circle--it opens--extends--deepens--and what else? I know not." (42) A linear space-time continuum failed Roberts--and the revival.

In Roberts's life, the overcoming of chronometric time was accompanied by the overcoming of space. He was simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. After he visited Liverpool in the late spring of 1905, Rev. John Williams, a local minister, wrote a supportive article for the Unitarian Ymofynydd (Enquirer), describing this "celebrity religious reformer's" allure: "There is some mystery attached to him which defies all explanation, and this always characterizes every true reformer. 'Thou canst not tell whence he cometh, nor whither he goes."' (43) Some invisible hand seemed to be leading Roberts forward, directing his every step. Soon after those early Loughor meetings, Roberts began seeking and receiving invitations to speak elsewhere, in chapels across Wales, into England, then overseas. Some he accepted, many he declined, notably those outside Wales. No one knew for sure not only when but where he might show up, as he discouraged the advance advertising of his meetings by advertisements and posters. All his movements were provisional and subject to divine confirmation and last-minute alterations. So as not to overwhelm the revivalist, his whereabouts were in fact, in some cases, deliberately kept secret. (44)

Roberts proclaimed, "I carry not the Gospel, but the Gospel carries me." (45) It was carrying him everywhere. With his revival "helpers" Roberts tried to visit as many meetings as physically possible, meetings that were assembled by local leaders and pastors in anticipation. Some were so crowded the revivalist could barely get through the front door to speak. This nonstop activity meant Roberts found himself powering between chapels, morning, noon, and night as he crisscrossed South Wales--like an express train, full steam ahead. (46) On November 19, 1904, for instance, he visited three separate villages, attending meetings in the morning (in Bridgen Town Hall at ten a.m., disappearing midstream), in the afternoon (in Pyle, by two p.m.), in the evening (in Abergwynfi's Calvinistic Methodist Church, around six p.m.), only to find himself on the late train to Abercynon, to address a Sunday morning service the next day. (47) He made that meeting, spoke, then in the evening met with large crowds who had, as well, traveled from Cardiff, the Rhondda Valley, and beyond. (48) He kept this pace up for months. Roberts's mysterious omnipresence fascinated the public who came by train from miles to catch a glimpse of this virtual celebrity.

Who was Evan Roberts? many wondered, from local miners and tin-platters to the archbishop of Canterbury. (49) Who was this ex-collier celebrity being dubbed the Welsh Wesley? Arthur Goodrich summed up the legend that was growing with each passing day:
 In a railway carriage, men who have not seen him repeat with awe
 the stories they read in the papers, how he is pale-faced, and
 how he says his body is electrified, and he has visions, and
 what a strange light he has in his eyes, and how he gets only a
 hour's sleep in a night, and has no watch that will keep time in
 his pocket, most of which is, of course, mere talk, and if true
 at all, true only in part. (50)

Roberts unwittingly fed the legend. Not wanting to steal God's thunder, he insisted: the revival was not my doing but God's. "Personal eloquence, magnetism, fervour, or mental power" do not explain the revival, claimed Rev. H. M. Hughes, a sympathetic Cardiff minister. "The only explanation was the one which the evangelist gave. 'It is all of God. Rather than deflecting attention, this appeal served only to enhance the revivalist's personal mystique. (52) Of course, Evan Roberts was not wholly divine, and he knew that. The mystique was just that, mystique. The illusion that he had overcome time and space would eventually catch up with him. This emphasis on divine agency, however, had the effect of masking a very real factor contributing to the mystique, to Roberts's apparent omnipresence. He could not have achieved this level of self-fashioning without British technological modernization.


An express train had derailed at full speed while traveling over the Loughor River, killing six and injuring others, just weeks before Roberts launched his first revival meetings. (53) Not surprisingly, local villagers were moved by the incident. Did this spark the renewed interest in religion? Although Roberts denied the connection, others--including supporters--did not. "The beginnings of the revival at Newquay, Loughor, and Gorseinon synchronized with this accident, leading one to think that the better side of humanity was stirred in those places by the ministering spirit shown to the injured, and the awakening of man and women to the reality of spiritual and eternal things." (54) That accident may or may not have sparked the revival. Regardless, the railway itself was crucial to its expansion, a factor consistently undervalued by historians.

In 1804, at the historic first run of Richard Trevithick's locomotive out of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, spectators were "told of a power and a speed that would alter everything, and do away with horses altogether." The future would witness "flying by a mass of wood and iron, thousands of tons of weight, bearing not only the commerce of the country, but hundreds of people as well.... [R]ivers and mountains would afford no obstacle, as the mighty azure waves leap the one and dash through the other." (55) No one could have then completely understood the transformation engendered by the locomotive. The literal and metaphorical engine driving modernity, it became a symbol of an age. (56) Commentators like Karl Marx predicted that the locomotive revolution would lead to the "annihilation of space and time." (57) What fueled this prophecy was not the ebullient but naive optimism of a euphoric generation; it was if anything the tangible, marked progress of the railway system itself. The trajectories of these three prime indicators help illuminate the transformation: the volume of passengers, the mileage of tracks, and advances in speed. In 1845 alone, which was still, arguably, within the nascent period of growth, an astounding 43,790,983 passengers had traveled by train--astounding, that is, when the population was half that number. (58) From 1860 to 1870 the number of passengers doubled, to 336,545,397. "Surely nobody expects that in 1890 there will be many more people have thus gone than in 1880!" proclaimed one enthusiast. "Already our passengers annually amount to some twenty times the population of the whole kingdom; so now we must be near the end of the development! Were we?" (59) Passenger traffic grew by 35 percent, rising to 817,744,046. The billion passengers mark would be reached before century's end. What was first considered a luxury became a common-day experience for all with affordable third-class fares. No citizen was left untouched by the "Great Beast." Only war and the saturation of new forms of transportation would alter these patterns.

A "great machine covering the land" was what some called the railway network. (60) By the end of 1829 a mere 51 miles of track had been opened, and by 1836 only 350 miles more. (61) The "Golden Age" of construction, between 1836 and 1870, was marked by several "manias"--periods of the feverish investment (1837-40, 1845-47, and 1862-65)--which exponentially increased the mileage. Before the end of 1871, 15,736 miles of track had been laid. Although the pace slackened after this "heroic" era, construction continued at a healthy pace until World War I, at which time there were over 20,000 miles in total. (62) "The system was at its maximum extent when war broke out," argues historian P. J. Cain; "the companies moved more tons of goods in 1913 than was ever to be the case again (passenger journeys peaked just after the First World War); and the overall impact of the railways on both economy and society was greater between 1870 and 1914 than it was either before or after." (63) During these peak years, that is, until the war, each mile of new track served only to fuel the railway's revolutionary cultural productivity. Accomplishing all of this required more than metal and brawn; it required the massive reconfiguring of Britain's landscape--radically and irrevocably altering the relationship of denizens to their physical, visceral world. (64) As transportation historians Wolfgang Schivelbusch and Michael Freeman have argued, the railway both diminished and expanded space. Bringing disparate realms into the same, congruent governable space fed the desire to conquer even further, pushing the boundaries of habitable space itself. As the century progressed, reformers, particularly town and city planners, readily took to this idea that space could be expanded and contracted, simultaneously, and thus reconstituted according to society's needs. (65) Faster trains not only brought urbanity nearer to the countryside and seaside; it brought the countryside into an urban consciousness. This was reinforced (perhaps even produced) by the increased productivity of governable space--space that could be surveyed, (re)allocated, divided, fragmented, ordered, (re)distributed, manipulated, traversed, and dominated.

South Wales stands as a perfect "case in point." "Here developed the most dense, and probably the most profitable coal traffic of its time in the world," D. S. M. Barrie has argued. (66) Not until 1913 did the coal industry reach its peak, by which time it was, according to historian Kenneth Morgan, "emphatically the largest and most prosperous coalfield in Britain, probably in the world." (67) South Wales was then producing a third of the world's coal exports. Saying this was space "governed" is, arguably, no stretch of the imagination. For many, traditional concepts of space had been assaulted and dismantled. (68)

After the motives of profit, achievements in the area of speed fueled the modern imagination most directly. In the words of transport historian Michael Robbins, it allowed the railway to "knock the nineteenth century sideways." (69) In 1802, at the beginning of the century, it took four hours and five minutes for Trevithic's first locomotive to travel just nine miles. By midcentury speeds of seventy-five miles an hour had been achieved, a remarkable advancement, akin to the twentieth century's putting a man on the moon. Proclaimed one Railway Magazine illustrator in 1901: "150 Miles an Hour!--A Mono Rail Railway Possibility." (70) There seemed to be no end in sight for what might be achieved, even by ordinary citizens (see Figure 1). And the "cult of speed" was born.


Railway travel had the contradictory effect of both increasing and diminishing time. Increased speeds allowed quicker movement, promising riders more time to do other things (surplus time, for leisure). Yet, just as railway practices had transformed physical landscape into governable space, it also created and reinforced governable time--diminished time--time that could be divided, fixed, and measured with mathematical accuracy and precision. After all, before the locomotive age "universal time" did not even exist; time was location specific and set according to solar readings. Railway companies found this utterly unmanageable, however, especially in larger countries where trains covered great distances. In 1884 representatives of twenty-five countries convened a Prime Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C.: they set Greenwich as the zero meridian, determined the length of the day, then divided the earth into twenty-four different time zones one hour apart. (71)

Omnipresent timetables like Bradshaw's guides proffered a new kind of scientific social contract, affording railway companies the means for governing time for those one-billion-plus passengers--by consent--which in turn helped to create a social order the world had never before seen. Everyone knew the dictum: the train waits for no one. The quintessential symbols of this new era, this new way of perceiving time, this new way of dictating time, were clocks and watches--one of the most enduring and ubiquitous symbols and markers of modernity. (72) Clocks and clock towers came to symbolize not only the public governing of universal time but also the expectations of a "modern" liberal society, particularly clocks mounted in train stations, like Orsay in Paris, and on newly built town halls, like the one in Manchester, England, which has written below, "Teach Us to Number Our Days." (73)

Trends in the production of personal watches for the individual's private governing of time during this period are likewise telling (see Table 1). In Germany during the last decade of the nineteenth century, by historian Karl Lamprecht's estimates, twelve million watches were imported, representing a sharp increase. (75) Historian Stephen Kern argues that, "The new profusion of watches was a response to, as well as a cause of, a heightened sense of punctuality in this period, especially in urban centers." (76) Citing George Simmel's "The Metropolis and Mental Life" (1900) as his source, he contends that pocket watches had the effect of "accelerating modern life and instilling a sense of punctuality, calculability, and exactness in business transactions as well as human relations." (77) The movement between governed time and surplus time had the effect of heightening the sense of time's new social valuation in modernity as something more akin to a commodity--"time is money." Time was something that could be controlled, manipulated, lost, stolen, exchanged, and so on. It was anything but static.

Schivelbusch argues that not only had the anxieties of travel vanished by the mid-nineteenth century, but so too had the phrase so typical of the earlier period, "the annihilation of space and time." (78) Regardless of whether the phrase was being uttered at the end of Queen Victoria's reign or during King Edward's, the idea was still circulating and still had palatable potency. In fact if anything the revolution in space and time, which the railway had done so much to engender, was only gaining momentum. (79) As the literature of this period reveals, railway travel continued to engage the imagination well after midcentury. Recall that the nineteenth century's great railway novel, Emile Zola's Bete Humaine, was published in 1890. (80) A sample of other notable works spanning this era--from Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) to Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time (written and published between 1913 and 1922)--illustrates the centrality of the railway as a site for exploring the meaning of modernity. In In Search for Lost Time, it is not the automobile that transcends space but the train that "conveys us ... by its magic." (81) No wonder Einstein chose trains and clocks to illustrate his theory of general and special relativity in Relativity: The Special and General Theory (1920). (82) Time and space had already been relativized in practice through technologies. Though many factors contributed to this revolution, the railway was the primary locus for experiencing it and a central metaphor for communicating it to "the masses," to those one-billion-plus British passengers.

This was especially true in South Wales. It was inundated with railway lines, thanks especially to the coal industry. It was a system "of immense sophistication and complexity with a myriad of local lines linking outlying parts of the coalfield with urban centers and coastal ports." (83) The upside of the industrial revolution for South Wales was a concomitant revolution in its transport affecting not only colliers moving coal but ordinary citizens as well--including Roberts. The heart of the railway system in South Wales was also the heart of the revival, in the mining valleys. In the industrial triangle stretching from Newport to Carmarthen up to the mountain barriers at the northern limit of the coalfield (eighty miles long by twenty to twenty-five miles deep), there were no less than sixteen different public railway companies working traffic. Three-hundred-plus trains passed the Pontypridd junctions daily. (84) Children of the revolution, neither Roberts nor any of his other co-revivalists would have given railway travel a second thought, for his was the first generation to have lived in a world of widespread mass transit. "By the time Western Europe had culturally and psychically assimilated the railway," argues Schivelbusch, "that is, by the mid-nineteenth century, [anxieties over rail catastrophes] had vanished; ... the new geography created by the railroad (and first experienced as a shock) had become second nature." (85) The Welsh revival was not simply the first recognizable revival of the century; it was the first to be utterly dependent on mass public transportation. (86)

It is thus fitting that Evan Roberts decided on his first revival "sermon" while riding the train, from Newcastle Emlyn to Carmarthen. Sitting in a compartment full of people, he "tested" himself to see if he were ready to speak. (He was.) On disembarking at Carmarthen to change trains, he said quite simply to his fellow travelers, "Perhaps we shall not meet again, until we meet in the Judgment." (87) That was it. Once home in Loughor, he announced to his family that they were about to see the "greatest Revival" Wales had ever before witnessed. And he was going to help lead it. This minister-in-training had decided to leave his studies "to offer Christ to sinners." Not only did he tell his family that the greatest revival was about to hit the Principality, but he began announcing it to everyone else, too, starting at his first prayer meeting that night in Moriah Chapel, October 31, 1904. The meetings began there, yet Roberts had already intended to take his message elsewhere. D. M. Philips's biography of Roberts is replete with references to trains, railway travel, and train stations. To the average reader, the list of locations seems rather unremarkable, places such as Pontycymer, near Bridgend, Pontypridd, and Trecynon, Aberdare. Nonetheless, locales like Pontypridd were revival "hotspots" and railway junctions. One of the remarkable features of this revival was the fluidity of movement in space, particularly for Roberts, but as well for others. The railway enabled him to refashion himself by allowing his rapid circulation throughout the railway network and thus across the landscape.

Roberts understood the implicit centrality of railway travel, as did others. It led to the production of governable space and time, yet also provided the contradictory means for overcoming those very same processes. Remember Roberts's watch: it could not keep up with him. The theological emphasis on the Holy Spirit arose out of this overcoming--that is, it was materially dependent on technologies. Spirit and machine coexisted. Roberts usurped them in his own religiously inspired self-fashioning. (Foucault's "disciplinary society" is opposed through Michel de Certeau's "tactical" manipulations.) In this, Roberts inspired scores of others to follow his lead.


"You tell me that the revival originates with Roberts. I tell you that Roberts is a product of the revival," declared G. Campbell Morgan, a prominent religious figure at the time. "If you and I could stand above Wales, looking at it, you would see fire breaking out here, and there, and yonder, and somewhere else, without any collusion or prearrangement." (88) Had Roberts remained in Loughor, the story of the revival would be much different. But as he traversed and as the revival spread, something took over. Whatever it was, it deeply affected the life of Wales during the winter and spring of 1905. Fundamentally, the revival was rooted in the religious experiences of scores of tens of thousands of individuals. Something palpable animated the revival services. Call it whatever you like; there is no gainsaying the impact. A decline in crime was heralded, especially by religious leaders, as the clearest universally recognizable indicator of social impact. (89) By the end of 1904, Cardiff, which was not at the center of the revival, reported a decrease of 60 percent in cases of drunkenness. In Swansea, Newport, Cardiff, and Abercarn, public officials held "white gloves" ceremonies to honor the results: cells had been emptied and in some cases courts closed. The magistrate in Swansea declared, "All the years I've been sitting here I've never seen anything like it, and I attribute this happy state of things entirely to the Revival." (90) All this notwithstanding, regardless of how intense those variegated religious experiences may have been, regardless of how important a marker public probity may have been, the revival's identity supercedes those phenomena.

Evan Roberts confidently declared that, "The world will be swept by His Spirit as by a rushing, mighty wind.... Thousands upon thousands will do more than we have accomplished, as God gives them power. This is my earnest faith, if the churches will but learn the great lesson of obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Obedience! Obedience!! Obedience!!!" (91) The point of the prophecy of Joel, recorded in Acts 2, is that the Holy Spirit would be poured upon "all" flesh, all people, not just priests and religious leaders. (92) Roberts--an ordinary believer without formal religious credentials--thus served as an archetype for the masses taken in by the revival. One supporter perspicaciously observed, "Democracy, dimly conscious of these [our modern] forces, makes an evangelist its hero." (93) This democratization proved fertile: ordinary believers were promised that they, too, could be moved by and filled with the Holy Spirit--that they, too, could be more like the Holy Spirit--and therefore transcend their own frail human existence. The moral and ethical, or if you will social, ramifications are of serious consequence, as evidenced by the emphasis on declining criminality. (94) As with Roberts, however, that reconfiguration had direct bearing on spatial-temporal bodily practices and perceptions. That is, Roberts was not the only individual overcoming space and time. "The most striking thing about the revival in Wales is its spontaneity," observed one commentator. "Mr. Evan Roberts has been chosen by the Lord to introduce the new era of dependence on, and obedience to, the impulses of the Holy Spirit within the soul.... The influence is dispersing itself over the entire kingdom. Wales had the first baptism of the Divine fire, but it is not to be confined to the Principality." (95) The influence had indeed dispersed itself, in multitudinous ways. Central to that democratic movement were technologies of transit and communication.

In his more-than-enthusiastic article, "The Hour is Come!!" Arthur Guttery assured fellow Christians: "The Times are ripe for a sweeping Revival; all our modern forces have their focus here. We have more than enough machinery, we must switch on the divine electric current that spells motive and momentum. There are certain essentials that we must possess." (96) The "cult of speed" energized and animated the revival. The most remarked-upon (and remarkable) piece of evidence, next to the number of converts, proffered to justify the claim that the revival was from the hand of God, that the Holy Spirit was being poured out like at Pentecost, was the momentum of the movement, its seemingly spontaneous, lightning-like proliferation--its virtual simultaneity. One religious leader enthused: "The number of declared conversions runs into 'tens of thousands,' and suggests the rapid spread of Christianity in early Pentecostal days." (97) Another journalist reported:
 Evan Roberts feels that its spontaneous character is the revival's
 chief note and constitutes its chief claim upon our homage, and he
 has always impressed the public with the necessity of dissociating
 the movement from him. Evan Roberts is right, and the development
 of the movement shows that its progress is by no means dependent
 upon him. In fact, it is dependent upon no personality, gift, power,
 or circumstance. The flame bursts forth of its own accord, and the
 fire burns of itself. (98)

Different metaphors were employed to describe this spread--electricity, water flowing, fire, and wind, especially--however, the mechanism allowing for the rapid movement of people was the mass public transportation system. Just as Roberts, Seth Joshua, Sydney Evans, and other revival leaders circulated through space and time on the railway, so too did participants. The democratization of mass public transport contributed to the democratization, not to mention the obvious proliferation, of the revival. It contributed to the collective annihilation of space and time. Once the press picked up the story, and sensationalized it for mass consumption, "strangers" from all over flocked to revival prayer meetings and services. They inundated Roberts--starting in Loughor, within days. Two days, in fact. The Western Mail first covered the revival, with approbation, November 10, 1904. This was the scene two nights later: "The two chapels were so full at two o'clock Sunday morning that persons could not push their way in and out ... and people who had come from a long distance had lost all consciousness of time, and felt no inclination to go home." (99) The obvious is overlooked: how did they get there so quickly? They came by foot and beast; some by auto--many more by train. The result is easily overlooked as well: they "felt no inclination to go home," having lost consciousness of time. They had overcome their locally, historically constituted "selves"--for at least a moment in time. In the spectacularization of the modern-day religious life, they were lifted above the mundane.

That the rail contributed to this beyond merely transporting individuals is further evidenced by the various ways the revival was itself experienced through the railway system. Enthusiasts appropriated trains and stations as suitable public spaces for the revival's proliferation. "A great number of young people have been inspired to such an extent as to make them courageous enough to speak to sinners every chance they get. They sing and pray on the railway platforms, and people alight from the trains to hear them. I saw many leave their trains to go and join heartily in the meetings. Prayer meetings are held in the trains, and many converts are made." (100) In some towns, like Nuneaton, "convert trains" were especially reserved for new Christians to travel en mass. (101) Many of the converts and "well-wishers" met the revivalists (sometimes in immense crowds) to greet them or say goodbye. Revivalists in Taff Vale suspended a banner, festoon-like, from the main street of the town to the Taff Vale Railway Station with the inscription, on one side, "The wages of sin is death," and on the other, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ." (102) The primary journalist covering the revival, whose pen name was "Awstin," described this scene as he pulled into Taff:
 When the train steamed into Taff's Well Station we could hear
 "Songs of praises" being sung on the railway platform, and when
 some of my fellow-passengers declared that "the revivalists were at
 it again." I looked out into the grey fog, expecting to catch a dim
 glimpse of a band of Evan Roberts's singing evangelists, but there
 were only colliers and a few masons and labourers going to work--and
 here they were, singing joyfully the glorious hymns of the
 religious revival. (103)

These are of course only anecdotal testimonies used to describe the railway system's significance. The only statistics available for the revival concern the number of converts; none record the number of revival supporters who traveled to services by train. And yet, after reading the scores of reports, testimonies, and articles, one gets the sense that the system did more than circulate the revival, moving bodies transcendent-like through space and time. The appropriating of the public mass transit system for religious purposes had the affect of transforming the way that the "Great Beast" and "great machine covering the land" were collectively read. The railway, which had insinuated itself within the psyche of modern Wales, was not merely a means of simply transporting cargo, coal, and colliers. The appropriation grounded religious practices within material culture, which led to the reinterpreting of those technologies. Revival leaders and participants were reinscribing sacred space onto the "modern" world.

Revival reports happily recorded the appropriation of other public spaces (like pubs, hotels, and street corners). Having never experienced anything like this before, S. G. Jenkins was at a loss for words: "It is difficult (especially for an Englishman) to describe this great religious awakening. The Welsh Revival is not confined to a few, nor to the many Welsh Chapels; it is evident, in the streets, in the cars, in the trains--in fact, it is almost everywhere in this district." (104) Especially popular were colliery stories. How appropriate it is that they should reinscribe the sacred into that space--the physical landscape--so markedly defaced by the needs of modern empire. For, indeed, as historian Daniel Rogers and others have noted, "Coal was the critical natural resource of the industrial revolution." (105) Not without significance, some of the most repeated and widely circulated stories out of the revival come out of the mines. Prayer meetings were held in the pits, on trolleys, and during union meetings, as were revival-like services. Pontypridd's mines proved particularly fertile. If God could convert the "roughest and rowdies in Wales," nine hundred feet below, anything was deemed possible. (106)

When Rev. T. Ferrier Hulme had the arrangements made for his visit to an underground revival, in February 1905, it was as an observer, not as a leader or minister. Prayer meetings had been going strong for some time, attended first by a few, who were ridiculed, then by many others--in fact, almost all, so it was said. ("O Lord," one collier prayed, "so many men are getting saved in these days that the angels must be working double shift.") "Awstin" of the Western Mail, who had made the arrangements, met Hulme at five a.m. to take him down into the Great Western Colliery Company's Penrhiw Pit; they were accompanied by officials and several additional English-speaking visitors. On descending "the drift," Hulme and the others could hear the 250-odd men and boys singing revival hymns ("Here is love like mighty torrents/Pity like the boundless sea"). Once below, they were overwhelmed. What Hulme described first in his report back to the readers of the Methodist Times was the physical environment of the pit and how it had been transformed:
 This is a capital chapel. The upper pathway is like a raised
 platform with the lower tramway as the floor level. The greater
 space formed by the junction of the two road-ways is well sited
 for a congregation; and with its vaulted arches and pillars you
 are well able to imagine yourself in an underground cathedral, the
 tramway being the nave. And in no cathedral service have I seen
 truer reverence.... In the dim religious light (a phrase that could
 hardly have been applied to the lamps of many of these men three
 months ago, and which is scarcely appropriate now if you place much
 emphasis on that word dim) you see men in every variety of
 posture--standing, sitting, squatting, kneeling, and all intent on
 prayer. No one appears to be in-different, no man makes any sign to
 his neighbour, but all are intent. (107)

What impressed the image of the cathedral on Hulme's mind was not the height of the pit ceiling; it was the commingling of religious practices and physical space: "And in no cathedral service had I seen truer reverence" (see Figure 2). The revival had overcome physical space in that not only had it proliferated with amazing speed throughout the Principality, but that it had annihilated the division between a secular and profane sense of place; it had "redeemed" space, which in this case is all the more poignant given the social and cultural significance of mining. (After all, one in five Welsh male workers was employed by a colliery during this period.) If the pit could be redeemed, why not the world?


And why not time? As already mentioned, railway travel contributed to time's malleability. The tactics and bodily practices of revival participants, many of which a mere reflection of Roberts's own, were affected and produced by the new technological forces impinging upon society. He could not be bound by time and neither could they. They stayed until two, three, and four in the morning with him. They, too, lived in an ever-expanding but accelerating present, where Universal Standard Time governed and was resisted. Quoting Roberts, E. W. Moore wrote, "'The clock ... no longer determines the time of the meetings.'" It is quite true they may be announced to begin at a certain hour, but it would be almost true to say they have no beginning and no end. The meeting is in full swing with prayer, praise, and testimony, hours before Mr. Roberts arrives; and if another meeting is to follow in the evening, it frequently continues after he has left." (108) Some of the more popular revival testimonies speak of spontaneous "outpouring" and "movings" that defy governed time and space. Men and women would be woken in the middle of the night by "promptings from the Holy Spirit"--sometimes to pray, other times to "right a wrong," other times to make a commitment to faith and go to a revival service. The most pronounced attempts to live in the moment--to stop time--grow out of the revival meetings themselves. To some these gatherings looked like complete bedlam; to others they seemed sure bliss. No order or structure was imposed on most meetings, regardless of where they were held. Anyone could testify, lead out in a song, exhort, prophecy, or pray--even if it meant interrupting revival leaders. G. Campbell Morgan's observations well reflect the impressions of many enthusiasts:
 In connection with the Welsh revival there is no preaching, no
 order, no hymnbooks, no choirs, no organs, no collections, and,
 finally, no advertising. Now, think of that for a moment, again,
 will you? Think of all our work. I am not saying these things are
 wrong. I simply want you to see what God is doing. There were the
 organs, but silent; the ministers, but among the rest of the
 people, rejoicing and prophesying with the rest, only there was
 no preaching. Yet the Welsh revival is the revival of preaching to
 Wales. Everybody is preaching. No order, and yet it moves from day
 to day, week to week, county to county, with matchless precision,
 with the order of an attacking force. (109)

Participants reveled in the moment. After all, Morgan warned, "you never know just where this fire is going to break out next." (110) Although rooted in a spiritual longing, the valuation of spontaneity and "presence" must be reflected against a culture consumed by governed and governable time. In one sense this is a reactive gesture, an antimodern reflexivity; in another, a tactical self-fashioning. The strongest argument for this rests on a dialectical synchronicity: time stood still in the meetings, yet at the same time revivalists thrived in the "cult of speed," as evidenced by the revival's rapid expansion and lightning-like circulation. The annihilation of time does not imply the actual obliteration of time. Rather, it bespeaks time's malleable plasticity and perceptual relativity: the revival operated at both ends of time's spectrum. Only in that space do the references to participants' obliviousness to clocks and chronometric time make sense.

One of the most significant factors in this historical contingency contributing to the revival's proliferation was the newspaper, which was likewise dependent on the railway system for its own proliferation. "Evan Roberts travels quicker than his watch, so he says," wrote Rev. Margam Jones, a Calvinistic Methodist minister from Llwydcoed; "but the press travels quicker than Evan Roberts. But shall we suggest that the Supernatural can travel quicker than the press?" (111) Jones was confident that "the results point clearly to some supernatural agency." The import of the press's overwhelmingly positive reporting was one of the more prominently touted features of the revival. W. T. Stead confessed his amazement: "More wonderful still, and almost incredible to those who know how journalism lives and thrives upon gambling, is the fact that the most conservative daily paper of South Wales [the Western Mail] has devoted its columns day after day to reporting and defending the movement which declares war to the death against both gambling and drink." (112) The Western Mail, the first paper to significantly cover the revival in detail, was not the only paper to come onboard. The revival caused a virtual media frenzy. Having special "access" to Roberts, the Western Mail reported that in a two-day period, in mid December 1904, sixty reporters requested personal interviews. (113) (They were denied.) The world press--secular and religious--had picked up the story, most notably in France and Italy, but elsewhere as well, especially in countries with significant Welsh populations (the "Welsh Diaspora") like the United States. (114) In an interview in March 1905, Stead was queried, "Is there any sign of a movement on the Continent?" to which Stead replied:
 Mr. Lloyd-George [Member of Parliament] told me last week
 that wherever he had gone in France and Italy he found the papers
 discussing the revival. I have been asked by the most
 widely-circulated French review, La Revue, formerly La Revue des
 Revues, of Paris, to write a long article for their next number,
 setting forth the whole story of the revival. The editor is a
 Freethinker, but that in no way militates against his giving the
 immense circulation of his Revue to a long article on the religious
 awakening in South Wales. As his review circulates very largely in
 Russia I have great hopes that good news may soon be coming from
 that great nation. (115)

The more the revival was covered, the more coverage it garnered, on a local, national, and international level.

When it came time to give credit to whom credit was due, although Christians acknowledged the press's role, they denied its ultimate agency. That contradiction is poignantly displayed in this quote from Morgan: "The whole thing advertises itself. You tell me the Press is advertising it. I tell you they did not begin advertising until the thing caught fire and spread. And let me say to you, one of the most remarkable things is the attitude of the Welsh Press. I come across instance after instance of men converted by reading the story of the revival in the Western Mail and the South Wales Daily News." (116) That last bit, especially, was true. "Express" conversion stories were much heralded--stories of men and women who became Christians through reading reports of the revival from the Evening Express, the evening-edition newspaper in Wales and Monmouthshire with the highest circulation. (117) What explains this apparent contradiction? It may in part be explained by a theological proclivity--namely, a commitment to divine agency. As significant as the press's influence was, admittedly it was only one factor in the revival's remarkable growth; this, too, explains the ambivalence. Often overlooked, however, is the popular press's valuation and position within British culture in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Overlooked as well are practices, technologies, and techniques in mass communication. The popular press had by 1904 so insinuated itself into British culture that it had become its own "invisible hand" with tremendous influence, creating and dictating "public opinion," a fact that has been well recorded by others. Richard Terdiman argues that, "It became the most characteristic informational and commercial institution of the nineteenth century. So clearly does the newspaper epitomize the period that we could almost claim the century invented it." (118) Any explication of agency and proliferation requires an analysis of modern mass communication.

That the relationship of the press to British culture changed dramatically in the latter half of the nineteenth century is not contested by historians. Making generalizations about an incredibly heterogeneous popular press leads to overstatement; nevertheless, certain changes can be observed across multiple newspapers. The most far-ranging in implication is the shift from newspaper as conveyor of information (particularly for didactic purposes), and gossip, to newspaper as the principle form of mass communication. Raymond Williams identified this "modern" "formula," first inaugurated in the 1840s but then rapidly expanded in the 1890s, in the institution of the new advertising; it is the formula or image of the "mass" or "masses" as a "particular kind of impersonal grouping, corresponding to aspects of the social and industrial organization of our kind of capitalist and industrialized society." (120) Historian Aled Jones argues that, "The power of newspapers stemmed from their changed relationship with their society. Unlike books or periodicals, newspapers allowed 'the most distant classes of society' to communicate with each other, 'as if the penny post sent letters open that all might be read by all.'" (121) Vanessa Schwartz has suggested that, "The popular press during the second half of the nineteenth century featured a written scenario of life on the boulevards--a sort of literary voyeurism.... A newspaper created an 'imagined community,' to borrow Benedict Anderson's phrase, through which otherwise unconnected readers were able to participate in a shared community--evoked and constructed in the newspaper." (122) The newspaper became a symbiotic voice to and of the imagined community. Undergirding this development were notable changes in economic practices and political reconfigurations, leading to the establishment of a free press. This was done chiefly through the commodification of mass communication for mass consumption. (123) The newspaper became the demotic voice of the people, the masses--as opposed to the church or state--able to reflect the ever-changing desires, whims, and needs of that imagined community. As such, we might best think of the relationship of the popular press to popular culture and that imagined community as one of a delicate mimesis--sometimes leading, sometimes following; sometimes "out of touch," other times "spot on." In the case of the revival, the mimesis is actually quite pronounced. It was not simply a case of the press "creating" the revival; it was one of coproduction. And in the process identifiable agency was lost.

The Western Mail, as the premier one-penny daily in South Wales, was no bastion of "new journalism" in the late nineteenth century, those practices so often associated with mass communication's commodification. It was loyal to Crown, Commerce, and Church--that is, the Established Church--yet it was also committed to the new world of journalism and embraced its role in Welsh society, despite its commitments to Lambeth Palace, the City, Westminster, and Buckingham Palace. By harnessing the revival's popularity, the Western Mail more deeply enmeshed itself within both its imagined and real community, and it did so by employing the innovative practices of "new journalism." It devoted a massive amount of space to the revival's coverage, sometimes several columns a day, daily, for weeks on end. Its coverage of the revival was more extensive than for any other event or series of events during this period. Coverage included sensational descriptions of the meetings ("Women Fainting and Men Weeping," "Magnetic Preaching of Mr. Evan Roberts. Religious Ecstasy. All-Night Services," "An Atheist Burns His Books"); many reports from correspondents and "special reporters"; short biographies of revivalists; revivalists' schedules; testimonies; letters to the editor; interviews; pictures and sermons (sometimes in Welsh, which was highly unusual for this English-only paper). (124) See Figures 3 and 4. The former, Figure 3, is flanked on the one side by the sensational headline, "Scene Bordering on Panic--Great Crowds at Merthyr Vale--Revivalist Threatens to Leave--Women Overpowered by the Heat," and on the other with the equally sensational, "Twice Reported Dead--Remarkable Workhouse Story--Cardiff Man's Strange Fate." Likewise on Figure 4, "Railway Smash at Llantarnam."


In a period when most articles went unsigned, the Western Mail dedicated one of its journalists to the revival, "Awstin," who himself became a virtual celebrity, even speaking at revival services. All of this heralded the Western Mail as not only one of the most authoritative sources for information but also one of the most productive sites for the revival's proliferation, proffering a virtual "snapshot" of what "God was doing" in Wales. H. Maldwyn Hughes wrote to the Methodist Times, "It is cause for thankfulness that journalists of all parties are teaching the 'man in the street' that conversion is not the swamping of reason in a flood of emotion, but a valid experience which bears fruit in changed lives." (126) The Western Mail, in this case it seemed, had gotten it right, had captured the voice of the people, and was thus generously rewarded.

The revival was indeed traveling swiftly. Not only did the train transport bodies across time and space, it also transported daily newspapers--mass communication. The daily press was therefore as much a "great engine and purveyor of the transformation from 'tradition' to 'modernity,'" according to Vanessa Schwartz, as the train in celebrating "speed, spontaneity, the unpredictable and the ephemeral." (127) Both mass communication and mass public transportation operated in the same complex of mechanisms producing the "cult of speed." Both pressed against the borders of time and space. In the case of the newspaper, particularly the Western Mail, by masking consumption and production, the paper created an imagined community, then produced and exploited it; it produced mass communication, then commodified it for consumption. It created the impression that there was no agency guiding these practices. It worked to their advantage, therefore, when Roberts and others said that the revival was "all God." See the irony in the following anecdote. Sidney Evans, one of the revivalists and a friend of Roberts, in late November held meetings at Ogmore Vale; the first was attended with "great success" and lasted until 12:30 a.m. This was the scene the following morning as reported by the Western Mail:
 A procession paraded the valley on Sunday morning, meetings being
 held en route. There were very enthusiastic meetings throughout
 Sunday. Mr. Sidney Evans left for Morriston on Sunday afternoon. In
 a chat with a "Western Mail" representative, he disapproved of the
 action of the promoters of Saturday night's meetings in issuing
 posters. "The people," he said, "came here to-night out of
 curiosity. The Spirit could have brought them without any
 announcement, and it would be more effective."

 Mr. Dan Roberts is to be at Nantymoel tomorrow (Tuesday),
 Wednesday, and Thursday next. (128)

Sidney Evans did not want to advertise the meetings in posters, but no one gave a second thought to the Western Mail listing, in the very next paragraph, another revivalist's schedule.

Driven by the "cult of speed," newspaper companies in the latter half of nineteenth century harnessed the mass transit system much like telephone grids were harnessed to connect computers in the late twentieth century. The power of modernization stems not so much from individual advances in technology as from the layering of technologies and their complex interactions. It stems as well from the cultural meanings read into and onto those technologies. In its bid to refashion participants and inscribe the sacred onto modernity, the Welsh revival was instrumentally dependent on interlocking, overlapping mechanisms, dependent on the transformation of transit, of people, commodities, information, perceptions, and ideology. That identifiable "agency" was lost in the process, masked by technology and economic interests, served only to enhance the revival's aura and collective mystique. It contributed to the sense that the Holy Spirit "blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going." Revivalism would find itself quite at home in what Guy Debord called the "society of the spectacle." (129)


Laying the groundwork in the spring of 1905 for a visit to North Wales, Roberts circulated a short note that ended with this simple charge: "Forward, forward, forward." (130) The revival did indeed go forward, into North Wales, England, and elsewhere, claiming scores of thousands of converts along the way and eventually helping to spawn the pentecostal and charismatic movements, particularly in Los Angeles. The Welsh revival of 1904 was the first "modern" revival, in the sense that it capitalized on Williams's three great "revolutions" of modernity--revolutions in democracy ("everyone preaches"), extended communication (reliance on the press), and industry (mass public transport, especially). It was also modern for having pushed against the borders of time and space. In the end the revival could not sustain itself at that breakneck speed. By mid spring 1903, Roberts had suffered at least one breakdown (if not more), and by the summer the main thrust of the revival was over. As ephemeral as those one-penny dailies, it ended as quickly as it began. But the consequences were immense, as evidenced by the global rise of pentecostal and charismatic Christianity.

When the "Muller of India," Pandita Ramabai, received the reports coming out of Wales in January 1905, she gathered her mission pupils to pray for a similar revival for India. Within months hundreds were joining her, twice a day. An American missionary, Minnie Abrams, was there at the time teaching on the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as power for service--in line with the Keswick Higher Life movement--when the "fire fell." One of the senior girls in the mission woke Abrams from her sleep one night to tell her that a fellow pupil had "received the Holy Spirit." Abrams, recounting the events later, recalled, "I saw the fire, ran across the room for a pail of water, and was about to pour it over her when I discovered she was not on fire." This, Abrams went on to explain to the girls, was a sign of the Spirit and the anticipated revival. She prayed, "O Lord, we must have a revival; we must have it; begin it to-day." From there the testimony and "fire" spread. (131) And not merely to other stations in India.

In the spring of 1905, the English Keswick leader, F. B. Meyer, who had participated in the Welsh revival, traveled to Los Angeles to fan the flame abroad. Among those he attracted were Joseph Smale, a local Baptist pastor who, inspired by the reports, went to Wales to see for himself what God was doing. After returning home, he, like Ramabai, started holding his own similar revival prayer meetings. Bartleman, one of the most prominent revival advocates and, later, pentecostal leaders in Southern California, was likewise inspired. He, too, had heard Meyer, read the reports from G. Cambell Morgan and others, and even started corresponding with Roberts himself. (13)2 Similar stories abound. But more than a personal connection, Wales stands out for other reasons. Leaders in the emerging pentecostal revival directly mimicked Welsh spirituality and practices. Most notably, they, too, refused to acknowledge human leadership; they, too, refused to set the order to service. Anyone was free to speak, dance, exhort, or pray. More to the point, elsewhere as in Wales the emphasis on the omnipresent Holy Spirit was most pronounced. The Seattle, Washington, Apostolic Herald declared in October 1909, "No great human leader or radical reformer is at the head of this movement directing its forces or manipulating its ecclesiastic mechanism. And even if they should ever seek to govern it, they would soon be set aside and forgotten. Instead of this visitation being a reform, or strictly a movement, it is rather a breaking forth of centuries of overdue power; the praying down of heaven's Pentecost... the 'latter rain' (Joel 2:23, 24)." (133) The simultaneity of the Welsh revival "outpourings" turned global in scale--thanks not only to the faith of believers but also to the technological and communications breakthroughs of the age.

The relationship of religion to modernity, the machine age, is far more complex than is often assumed. (134) Technological innovations were supposed to lead to the annihilation of space and time, pushing inhabitants of the machine age to the borderland of experience. They were supposed to make religion, superstition, and myth unnecessary, too. Of course, they did not. The Welsh and later pentecostal revivals pushed against those same borders. Rather than receding into oblivion in the face of "modernity," believers reinscribed the sacred onto physical bodies and physical space--and technologies of modernization. These revivals promised a new kind of Christianity for a new age. Acts 2 provided the theological anchor for this new breed of Christianity, with its emphasis on the sudden, overwhelming "outpouring" of the Holy Spirit. Read one way, this emphasis on the Holy Spirit looks like another failed Luddite attempt to shut out modernity, a backward-looking longing for the pristine days of Eden. As this article has argued, however, there are other ways of reading and reconciling the twined Ages of the Spirit--and Machine.
TABLE 1. Estimated Output of Variables (74)

 U.S. Continental Europe

1862 50,000 2,500,000
1872 400,000 3,000,000
1882 1,250,000 3,500,000

(1.) Frank Bartleman, Azusa Street (South Plainfield, N.J.: Bridge, 1980), 19; originally published in 1925 under the title How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles.

(2.) Augustus Cerillo, Jr., "The Beginnings of American Pentecostalism: A Historiographical Overview," in Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism, eds. Edith L. Blumhofer, Russell P. Spittler, and Grant A. Wacker (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999).

(3.) Rhodri Hayward, "From the Millennial Future to the Unconscious Past: The Transformation of Prophecy in Early Twentieth-Century Britain," in Prophecy: The Language in History 1300-2000, eds. Bertrand Taithe and Tim Thornton (Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton, 1997), 161.

(4.) See Rhodri Hayward, "Popular Mysticism and the Origins of the New Psychology, 1880-1910" (Ph.D. diss., University of Lancaster, U.K., 1995), esp. chap. 4.

(5.) See, esp., William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (New York: Longmans, Green, 1902). For a more extreme example, see Robert Mapes Anderson, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979). Of course there are exceptions to this, most notably William G. McLoughlin, Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978); or Timothy L. Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1965). Yet even McLoughlin opts for a functionalist paradigm, arguing, "In short, great awakenings are periods when the cultural system has had to be revitalized in order to overcome jarring disjunctions between norms and experience, old beliefs and new realities, dying patterns and emerging patterns of behavior" (10).

(6.) Rhodri Hayward, "Popular Mysticism," 336.

(7.) Holmes, Religious Revivals, xvii. This discursive predilection is not restricted to revivalspecific histories. "To explain [what happened in 1904-06]," Russell Davies argues in a local Welsh study, "we need to examine some of the personal and psychological aspects of the revival, and to examine how the people themselves perceived the causes" (Russell Davies, Secret Sins: Sex, Violence & Society in Carmarthenshire, 1870-1920 [Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996], 206).

(8.) Although Ann Taves (Fits, Trances and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James [Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999]) does not examine the Welsh revival specifically, she does so by implication, employing an interpretive framework that takes in those normative practices of the Welsh revival. In so doing, she, too, privileges psychology, especially the works of William James. See, for instance, by way of contrast, her discussion of James versus Durkheim (276-78). I have relied upon biographical material, which to a certain degree marks the subject; however, I have explored the life of Roberts not to ferret out his biographical peculiarities or, as a so-called postmodern, to deconstruct "the subject." This essay will attempt to respect both the integrity of the subject and historical contingency, equally, and will argue that though Evan Roberts was a central figure in the revival, he was not its cause. Surveying the historiography of modern revivalism, Kenneth Jeffrey has well argued that, "It is generally accepted that revivals have not occurred in response to any one single aspect, but rather they have arisen as the result of the interplay of a variety of external and local factors" (Kenneth S. Jeffrey, When the Lord Walked the Land: The 1858-62 Revival in the North East of Scotland [Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster, 2002], 37). For a valuable effort to ferret out some of these various factors, see the much-anticipated recently translated R. Tudur Jones, Faith and the Crisis of a Nation: Wales 1890-1914 (Cardiff, U.K.: University of Wales Press, 2004).

(9.) On Roberts's life, see Brynmor P. Jones, An Instrument of Revival: Complete Life of Evan Roberts, 1878-1951 (South Plainfield, N.J.: Bridge, 1995).

(10.) I make this claim, that it was the first completely modern revival, advisedly. In many ways the earlier mid-nineteenth-century transatlantic revival was also modern, harnessing technologies like the telegraph, railroad, and daily press. (Cf. Jeffrey, When the Lord Walked the Land.) Yet, I shall argue that modernization and "the modern" were not merely technological or material but also perceptual and ideological. The most dramatic social and cultural reimagining of time and space, which is central to this essay's argument, took place well after railway travel had been introduced. See, for instance, Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983); and Peter Galison, Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps: Empires of Time (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003). The cultural meanings assigned to technologies, or rather read from technologies, changed over time. So, as well, did attending sociocultural practices.

(11.) Raymond Williams, The Long Revolution (London: Chatto and Windus, 1961), esp. intro. and pt. 2, chap. 3.

(12.) See Bruno Latour, Aramis--the Love of Technology, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996), esp. introduction.

(13.) See Nikolas Rose, Toward a Critical Sociology of Freedom, Inaugural Lecture delivered May 5, 1992 at Goldsmiths College, University of London: Goldsmiths College Occasional Paper; Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977); Foucault, "Governmentality," in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, Graham Burchell and others (London: Harvester Wheatshef, 1991); Andrew Barry and Thomas Osborne, eds., Foucault and Political Reason: Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism, and Rationality (London: University College London Press, 1996); and Patrick Joyce, The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City (London: Verso, 2003).

(14.) Richard Terdiman, Discourse/Counter Discourse: The Theory and Practice of Symbolic Resistance in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1985); Aled Jones, Powers of the Press: Newspapers, Power and the Public in Nineteenth-Century England (Aldershot, U.K.: Scolar, 1996); Laurel Brake, "Writing, Cultural Production, and the Periodical Press in the Nineteenth Century," in Writing and Victorianism, ed. J. B. Bullen (London: Addison Wesley Longman, 1997), 54-72; and Vanessa Schwartz, Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in Fin-de-Siecle Paris (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998).

(15.) See, for instance, Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999); Henri Lefebvre, The Critique of Everyday Life, vol. 1, trans. John Moore (London: Verso, 1994); Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York: Zonebooks, 1995); and Elisabeth Sussman, ed., On the passage of a few people through a rather brief moment of time: The Situationist International, 1957-1972 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989).

(16.) G. Hall Wallis, "A Denominational Revival," Free Methodist, 12 January 1905, 18-19; W. L. Taylor, "The Welsh Revival: Its Origin, Character, and Results," Aldersgate Primitive Methodist Magazine 86 (1905): 134-38. Cf. Edith L. Blumhofer, Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 58.

(17.) See "Englishmen and the Revival. Dr. Campbell Morgan Cries 'Hands Off!' Remarkable Address in London," Western Mail (hereinafter WM), 26 December 1904, 6; "International Revival," WM, 9 January 1905, 5.

(18.) New Testament scripture references taken from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.

(19.) Several prominent evangelicals tried to bring leadership from the outside, such as "General" Booth and F. B. Meyer; however, they failed. See, for instance, on Meyer, "Origin of the Revival: Mr. Meyer's Claim," WM, 13 December 1904, 5; "An Account of the Conversion of Evan Roberts," WM, 7 January 1905, 7; and "Rev. F. B. Meyer at Penarth," WM, 23 February 1905, 6.

(20.) Evan Roberts, "A Message to the World," in The Story of the Welsh Revival: As Told by Eyewitnesses Together with a Sketch of Evan Roberts and His Message to the World, Arthur Goodrich and others (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1905), 5.

(21.) J. O. Keen, "17,000 [pounds sterling] to Work up a Revival!" Free Methodist, 26 January 1905, 54.

(22.) D. M. Philips, Evan Roberts, The Great Welsh Revivalist and His Work, 5th ed. (London: Marshall Brothers, 1906), 117.

(23.) Ibid., 120.

(24.) W. T. Stead, "Mr. Evan Roberts," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 55.

(25.) Reprinted in Philips, Evan Roberts, 519.

(26.) Philips, Evan Roberts, 74. Cf. Brynmor P. Jones, Voices from the Welsh Revival 1904-1905 (Bryntirion, Bridgend, U.K.: Evangelical Press of Wales, 1995), 18-20. Cf. H. Elvert Lewis, With Christ Among the Miners (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906), 62.

(27.) Philips, Evan Roberts, 142. Cf. S. G. Jenkins, "Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival," Bible Christian Magazine 84 (April 1905): 145-52.

(28.) Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 21.

(29.) Reprinted in Philips, Evan Roberts, 448.

(30.) W. T. Stead, "Mr. Evan Roberts," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 55.

(31.) On early Christology, see Justo L. Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought: from the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon, vol. 1, rev. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1987), esp. chaps. 16-18.

(32.) New American Standard Version (hereinafter NAS), the Lockman Foundation, 1995.

(33.) Thaddeus A. Schnitker, "Dove," in The Encyclopedia of Christianity, eds. Erwin Fahlbusch and others (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1999), 1:884.

(34.) Timothy Gorringe, "Pneumatology," in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Thought, ed. Alister McGrath (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1993), 448.

(35.) John 3:8 (NAS).

(36.) "The Revival in Wales," WM, 19 November 1904, 5-6.

(37.) See Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 8, for the "one-hour" comment.

(38.) "The Revival Movement," WM, 21 November 1904, 4.

(39.) Kern, Culture of Time and Space, chap. 5.

(40.) Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 16.

(41.) Dan Roberts, Letter to Evan Roberts, 14 November 1904, repr. Philips, Evan Roberts, 215.

(42.) Evan Roberts, Letter to D. M. Philips, 8 November 1905, repr. Philips, Evan Roberts, 450.

(43.) Repr. and trans. Philips, Evan Roberts, 420. Note the inferential link to the passage from the Gospel of John quoted earlier.

(44.) "Mr. Evan Roberts Breaks Down," WM, 14 December 1904, 5. Supportive journalists noted this fact quite openly, without accusing leaders of manipulating the crowds: "Owing to the great secrecy to which his movements were subjected, Mr. Evan Roberts's intention to attend Tabernacle Welsh Congregational Chapel was known only to very few persons, with the result that the building was far from being full at two o'clock, the hour at which the meeting had been announced to begin" ("Mr. Roberts Visits Hirwain," WM, 19 January 1905, 6).

(45.) Philips, Evan Roberts, 484.

(46.) By the end of November, the strain was already showing; Roberts became ill. Here was the doctor's order: stop running from one hot meeting out into the cold then back into another (hot, as in temperature) ("The Revivalist Recovering," WM, 28 November 1904, 5).

(47.) Philips, Evan Roberts, 268. Cf. WM, 19 November 1904, 4-6; WM, 21 November 1904, 4-5.

(48.) "The Revival Movement," WM, 21 November 1904, 5.

(49.) See, for instance, "Wales Day by Day," WM, 6 March 1905, 4; and "The Welsh Revival in a Court Sermon," WM, 30 January 1905, 6.

(50.) Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 8.

(51.) "Chapels and the Revival," WM, 21 November 1904, 6.

(52.) When asked about this mystique, Roberts resolutely denied the rumors: "I want to keep myself in the background. I saw in one paper that the success of these meetings was attributed to my personal magnetism. Nonsense!" ("The Revival Waves in Wales," WM, 19 November 1904, 5).

(53.) D. S. M. Barrie, A Regional History of The Railways of Great Britain: South Wales (London: Newton Abbot, 1980), 12:221.

(54.) Taylor, "Welsh Revival," Aldersgate: 135. Cf. "The Welsh Revival," Free Methodist, 9 March 1905, 160.

(55.) Richard Pike, ed., Railway Adventures and Anecdotes: Extended Over More Than Fifty Years, 2nd ed. (London: Hamilton, Adams, 1887), 17.

(56.) Ian Carter, Railways and Culture in Britain: The Epitome of Modernity (Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 2001), esp. 1-47. He argues that it in fact became a metaphor for human experience itself.

(57.) Michael Freeman, Railways and the Victorian Imagination (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999), 20.

(58.) Figures taken from George A. Wade, "The Growth of Railway Passenger Traffic: A Review of It During the Queen's Reign," Railway Magazine 6 (May 1900): 455-60.

(59.) Ibid., 457.

(60.) For an exceptional discussion of how the railway network altered the physical and mental landscape, see Schivelbusch, Railway Journey.

(61.) T. R. Gourvish, "Railways 1830-1870: the Formative Years," in

Transport in Victorian Britain, eds. Michael J. Freeman and Derek H. Aldcroft. (Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 1988), 57-58.

(62.) P. J. Cain, "Railways 1870-1914: the Maturity of the Private System," in Freeman and Aldcroft, Transport in Victorian Britain, 92.

(63.) Ibid. (emphasis added). Cf. Kern, Culture of Time and Space, 213.

(64.) Freeman, Railways and the Victorian Imagination, esp. 38-55.

(65.) Cf. Ebenezer Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow, ed. F. J. Osborn (London: Faber and Faber, 1946 [1898/1902]); and Stephen V. Ward, ed., The Garden City: Past, present and future (London: Chapman and Hall, 1992).

(66.) Barrie, Regional History of The Railways, 13.

(67.) Morgan, Rebirth of a Nation, 124. Cf. J. Williams and others, Digest of Welsh Historical Statistics: Coal, 1780-1975 [computer file] (Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive [distributor], 31 July 2001, SN: 4097).

(68.) Cf. Michel Foucault, "Space, Knowledge, and Power," in The Foucault Reader: An Introduction to Foucault's Thought, ed. Paul Rabinow (London: Penguin Books, 1984).

(69.) Michael Robbins, Railway Age (Manchester, U.K.: Mandolin, 1998), 9.

(70.) Railway Magazine 9 (August 1901): 192.

(71.) Kern, Culture of Time and Space, 12-13. Several years prior, in 1880, the Definition of Time Act required that the time recorded at the Greenwich Observatory east of London set the legal time for all of Great Britain. As elsewhere, British railway companies standardized time-keeping long before this legislated date. In November 1840, the Great Western Railway ordered London time for all stations, a move that other companies would follow. In 1847, the Railway Clearing House, which coordinated aspects of the national railway system, issued a similar recommendation. Cities and towns would quickly follow suit. See Derek Howse, Greenwich Time and the Longitude (London: Philip Wilson, 1997), chap. 4.

(72.) David S. Landes, Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983), esp. 325.

(73.) For a discussion of the latter, in relation to governmentality, see Patrick Joyce, The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City, esp. 166.

(74.) Estimates of output production are taken from R. A. Church, "Nineteenth-Century Clock Technology in Britain, the United States, and Switzerland," Economic History Review 28 (November 1975): 625. Cf. F. J. Britten, "Watches and Clocks," in British Manufacturing Industries, 2nd. ed., ed. G. Phillips Bevan (London: Edward Stanford, 1878), 73.

(75.) Kern, Culture of Time and Space, 110.

(76.) Ibid., 111.

(77.) Ibid.

(78.) Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, 130.

(79.) For a corrective to Schivelbusch, see Kern, Culture of Time and Space.

(80.) Though at first castigated for his "vulgar" naturalism, Zola had, by 1900, a fairly broad audience in England. See Clarence R. Decker, "Zola's Literary Reputation in England," PMLA 49 (December 1934): 1140-53. Cf. Mark Seltzer, Bodies and Machines (New York: Routledge, 1992).

(81.) Marcel Proust, Sodom and Gomorrah, In Search of Lost Time, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, rev. D. J. Enright (London: Chatto and Windus, 1992), 457-78. He likens travel by car to taking a theatergoer backstage and revealing all, which strips the experience of its mystery. The motorcar pinpoints the passenger's location in space and time and maximizes the perception of distance traveled; the express train does just the opposite, feeding this sense of spatial-temporal magic.

(82.) See Peter Galison, Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps.

(83.) Morgan, Rebirth of a Nation, 67.

(84.) Barrie, Regional History of The Railways, 15.

(85.) Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, 130.

(86.) One might argue that a mid-nineteenth-century transatlantic series of revivals was the first to be markedly modern. Although they utilized the press, telegraph, and railway, the relationship of technologies to revivalism was yet to be cemented in the way that it was in 1904. Even commentators at the time of the 1904-05 revival who had participated in early revivals noted the differences, especially the rapidity with which the latter spread. Also of note was the way in which it spread--seemingly with little to no human "interference." The appearance of technology does not, I argue, make the revival modern; rather, it is a confluence of forces, the cumulative effect of intersecting technologies, and the interpretation of those interpenetrations by the populace.

(87.) Philips, Evan Roberts, 168.

(88.) G. Campbell Morgan, "Lessons of the Revival," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 43.

(89.) See, for instance, "The Revival in Wales and Elsewhere: Some Moving Stories," Methodist Times, 2 February 1905, 68.

(90.) "The Welsh Revival: Drunkenness and Blasphemy Disappear," Methodist Times, 5 January 1905, 5. The Times reported a similar though not exact decrease: from 446 in 1903 to 217 in 1904 ("The Religious Revival in Wales," Times, 13 February 1905, 9). Cf. "The Religious Revival in Wales," Times, 24 January 1905, 8; "Police-Court Effects. 'Business' in the Bridgend District," WM, 26 December 1904, 6; "Crime in Glamorganshire," Lancet, 5 August 1905, 409. Argued one correspondent: "The revival has caused the mightiest upheaval in the social life of the people that living generations have ever seen. Magistrates, policemen, journalists, and employers of labour give the same testimony" (John Whittle, "After Keswick," Primitive Methodist, 24 August 1905, 198).

(91.) Roberts, "Message to the World," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 6.

(92.) See "Awstin," "International Revival," WM, 9 January 1905, 5.

(93.) Arthur T. Guttery, "The Hour is Come!!" Primitive Methodist, 21 September 1905, 249 -50.

(94.) For a discussion of the political effects, see Hayward, "Transformation of Prophecy," in Taithe, Prophecy, 169; and Andy Croll, Civilizing the Urban: Popular Culture and Public Space in Merthyr, c. 1870-1914 (Cardiff, U.K.: University of Wales Press, 2000).

(95.) Alfred Jones, "The Great Revival," Free Methodist, 2 March 1905, 136.

(96.) Guttery, "The Hour is Come!!"

(97.) Taylor, "Welsh Revival: Its Origin," 136.

(98.) "'Danger Signals,'" WM, 23 December 1904, 4. According to one historian, one in twenty in the Welsh population made "commitments" to Christianity; of those, he estimates only 10 percent were made with any direct connection to Roberts or his associates (Jones, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 66).

(99.) Philips, Evan Roberts, 218. Large crowds had attended revival services before the Western Mail started its coverage; yet their reporting was significant for the revival's proliferation, as will soon be discussed.

(100.) Ibid., 275.

(101.) "The Revival," Methodist Times, 9 March 1905, 156.

(102.) "Striking Scenes At Tonypandy," WM, 22 December 1904, 5.

(103.) "Awstin," "An Underground Prayer Pentecost," WM, 23 December 1904, 5.

(104.) S. G. Jenkins, "The Welsh Revival, No. 1," Bible Christian Magazine 84 (1905): 73.

(105.) Daniel T. Rogers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998), 47 (emphasis added).

(106.) T. Ferrier Hulme, "Wales Revisited: Converted Atheists in the Pulpit," Methodist Times, 16 March 1905, 174.

(107.) Hulme, "Wales Revisited," 174.

(108.) E. W. Moore, "What I Saw and Heard in Wales," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 79.

(109.) Morgan, "Lesson of the Revival," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 42.

(110.) ibid., 4.

(111.) Margam Jones, "The Power of the Spirit," WM, 17 December 1904, 4.

(112.) Stead, "Story of the Awakening," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 62.

(113.) "Mr. Evan Roberts's Conversion," WM, 17 December 1904, 5.

(114.) "Mr. Stead on the Revival," WM, 10 March 1905, 6. See J. Edwin Orr, The Flaming Tongue: Evangelical Awakenings, 1900-, rev. ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1975). Cf. "Italy and the Anglo-Saxon," Lancet, 24 December 1904, 1800. For an example of foreign coverage, see "Evan Roberts: Le Jeune Prophete," La Presse, 19 January 1905, 2.

(115.) "The Spread of the Revival and Its After Mission: Interview with Mr. W. T. Stead," Methodist Times, 9 March 1905, 153.

(116.) Morgan, "Lesson of the Revival," in Goodrich, Story of the Welsh Revival, 43.

(117.) See, for instance, "An 'Express' Conversion," WM, 17 January 1905, 5.

(118.) Terdiman, Discourse/Counter-Discourse, 119. Although focused on France, Terdiman's theoretical assessment can, appropriately, be applied to British practices. Content varied by region, editorial predilections, style, and tone; however, especially after the 1860s and 1870s, enterprises wanting to "commodify" news for popular consumption made themselves aware of, and incorporated, international practices and technological innovations. Cf. Harold A. Innis, "The Newspaper in Economic Development," Journal of Economic History 2 (December 1942): 1-33.

(119.) For an excellent introduction, see Jones, Powers of the Press. See, also, Williams, Long Revolution; and Brake, "Writing, Cultural Production, and the Periodical Press."

(120.) Williams, Long Revolution, 178.

(121.) Aled Jones, Powers of the Press, 49.

(122.) Schwartz, Spectacular Realities, 26.

(123.) "Indeed," Terdiman argues, "the daily paper was arguably the first consumer commodity: made to be perishable, purchased to be thrown away" (Terdiman, Discourse/ Counter-Discourse, 120).

(124.) Although much of the revival was conducted in Welsh, a fair amount was not. In fact, participants often prided themselves on the revival's bilingualism. So as not to make an already long article even longer, I have elected not to elaborate on the relationship of the Welsh language to British modernization, for the use of Welsh can be, and was, read in contradictory ways. On the one hand, it symbolically and literally connected Welsh participants to their ancestral past. And in this sense, Welsh might be interpreted as backward-looking and antimodern. On the other hand, the use of Welsh, in a bilingual setting, may illumine a profound nationalism, a nationalism able to adapt to the forces of transnational modernization. Indeed, as historian Keith Robbins has argued,
 In the last half of the nineteenth century ... the place of the two
 languages in the life of Wales was fraught with ambiguity. If we
 take 'Anglicization' simply to mean a steady advance in familiarity
 with English language, then it was certainly happening. It is
 difficult, however, to capture the manifold subtleties in this
 evolving situation. Statements about an ability to speak two
 languages are not very helpful as a guide to actual use (Keith
 Robbins, Nineteenth-Century Britain: Integration and Diversity
 [Oxford: Clarendon, 1988], 32).

Robbins sees "no conflict between integration and diversity." Perhaps Benedict Anderson is correct in his Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (New York: Verso, 1991), that "English elbowed Gaelic out of most of Ireland" (72). But not Wales, not at the turn of the century. Anderson's oft-cited discussion of vernacular language and secularized nationalism in Imagined Communities provides little guidance here, where a revival in Welsh instead renewed sacred imagined communities.

(125.) "A Band of Pontypridd Revivalists," WM, 26 December 1904, 6.

(126.) H. Maldwyn Hughes, "The Revival and the Normal," Methodist Times, 12 January 1905, London, 18.

(127.) Schwartz, Spectacular Realities, 27-28.

(128.) "Mr. Sidney Evans at Ogmore Vale," WM, 28 November 1904, 5.

(129.) See, again, Debord, Society of the Spectacle.

(130.) Jones, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 123.

(131.) Helen S. Dyer, Pandita Ramabai: Her Vision, Her Mission and Triumph of Faith (London: Pickering and Inglis, n.d.), 100-101. See, also, Gary B. McGee, "'Latter Rain' Falling in the East: Early-Twentieth-Century Pentecostalism in India and the Debate over Speaking in Tongues," Church History 86 (September 1999): 648-65.

(132.) See Anderson, Vision of the Disinherited, 44-45, 64-65.

(133.) "Concerning This Movement," Apostolic Herald (Seattle, Wash.), October 1901, 3.

(134.) Stephen Kern's own version of the banal secularization thesis in this regard is typical. He argues, "Modern technology.., collapsed the vault of heaven. Never before the age of the wireless and airplane did the heavens seem to be so close or so accessible--a place of passage for human communication and for human bodies in man-made machines. The omnipresence and penetrating capacity of wireless waves rivaled miraculous action and reversed the direction of divine intervention. Planes invaded the kingdom of heaven, and their exhaust fumes profaned the realm of the spirit. Upwards still the direction of growth and life, but in this period it lost much of its sacred aspect" (Kern, Culture of Time and Space, 317).

Edward J. Gitre is a doctoral candidate in History at Rutgers University.
COPYRIGHT 2004 American Society of Church History
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Gitre, Edward J.
Publication:Church History
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Previous Article:Reversing the curse: agricultural millennialism at the Illinois Industrial University (1).
Next Article:A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters