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Inaugural Richard Burton lecture in Swansea

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 11:48 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

This Friday marks the inaugural Richard Burton Lecture at Swansea's Taliesin Arts Centre. The lecture will explore Richard Burton the scholar, and celebrates the launch of Swansea University's Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales.

Professor Chris Williams in front of a display of Richard Burton pictures and documents. Photo courtesy of Swansea University.

Professor Chris Williams. Photo courtesy of Swansea University.

Professor Chris Williams, who will give the lecture, is the director of the centre at the University's School of Arts and Humanities.He has been researching Burton's personal diaries and journals following their donation to the university.

He estimates it will take a year to prepare the journals for publication and hopes the diaries will be published in 2012. They will be published in their entirety, complete with scholarly notes and an introduction that will set the story in context.

Listen to Professor Williams talking about the donation of the papers by the actor's widow Sally Burton, in an archive clip on the BBC Wales Arts website.

Photograph of Richard Burton's diary from 1940, courtesy of Swansea University.

Photograph of Richard Burton's diary from 1940, courtesy of Swansea University.

Speaking ahead of the lecture Williams said: "Richard Burton was, in many ways, a frustrated scholar. A man of considerable intelligence, he had great respect for scholarship and literature, and often expressed a desire to make his mark in these fields rather than in the world of theatre and film acting.

"This dimension to his character emerges very powerfully in the private writing that he undertakes in his diaries."

Friday's lecture also marks the completion of the Richard Burton Archives - a £1.2 million refurbishment that will preserve not only the treasured Richard Burton Collection, but also the South Wales Coalfield Collection, the Raymond Williams papers and other collections.

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