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FOSTER, IDRIS LLEWELYN (1911-1984), Ysgolhaig Cymraeg a Cheltaidd | Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig

FOSTER, IDRIS LLEWELYN (1911-1984), Ysgolhaig Cymraeg a Cheltaidd

Enw: Idris Llewelyn Foster
Dyddiad geni: 1911
Dyddiad marw: 1984
Rhiant: Anna Jane Foster née Roberts
Rhiant: Harold Llywelyn Foster
Rhyw: Gwryw
Galwedigaeth: Ysgolhaig Cymraeg a Cheltaidd
Maes gweithgaredd: Ysgolheictod ac Ieithoedd
Awdur: Robert Geraint Gruffydd

Ganwyd 23 Gorffennaf 1911 yng Ngharneddi, Bethesda, sir Gaernarfon, yr hynaf o ddau fab (ni bu iddynt ferched) Harold Llywelyn Foster o Fethesda a'i wraig Anna Jane Roberts : siopwyr oedd ei rieni. Addysgwyd ef yn Ysgol Sir Bethesda a Choleg Prifysgol Gogledd Cymru, Bangor lle y graddiodd yn BA gydag Anrhydedd Dosbarth Cyntaf mewn Cymraeg, gyda Lladin yn bwnc atodol, yn 1932, ac yn MA gyda Rhagoriaeth yn 1935 am draethawd ar y chwedl ryddiaith Gymraeg Canol bwysig Culhwch ac Olwen: y dylanwad pennaf arno ym Mangor oedd yr Athro Ifor Williams. Dyfarnwyd iddo Gymrodoriaeth Prifysgol Cymru yn 1935 a threuliodd gyfnodau ym Mhrifysgol Genedlaethol Iwerddon yn Nulyn wrth draed Osborn Bergin ac ym Mhrifysgol Bonn wrth draed Rudolf Thurneysen. Yn 1936 apwyntiwyd ef yn Bennaeth Adran Gelteg Prifysgol Lerpwl, lle yr arhosodd am un flynedd ar ddeg, ar wahân i dair blynedd a hanner (1942-5) a dreuliodd yng Nghaergrawnt yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd fel aelod o wasanaeth cudd-ymchwil y Llynges Frenhinol lle y meistrolodd Serbo-Croateg. Yn 1947 fe'i hetholwyd yn Athro Celteg Prifysgol Rhydychen, lle yr arhosodd nes iddo ymddeol yn 1978 a dychwelyd i fyw i Fethesda. Ynghyd â'i Gadair fe'i hetholwyd yn Gymrawd o Goleg yr Iesu, ac yng Ngholeg yr Iesu yr oedd yn byw ac yn gweithio, gan aros yn ddibriod (er cymaint ei hoffter o blant, a hoffter plant ohono yntau). Yr oedd Foster yn ysgolhaig Celtaidd cyfanddysg, gyda meistrolaeth drylwyr ar y prif ieithoedd Celtaidd a'u llenyddiaethau, ac ymddiddorai'n frwd hefyd yn hanes ac archaeoleg y gwledydd Celtaidd (ynghyd ag amryw ddisgyblaethau cysylltiol eraill: yn ei dro bu'n Gadeirydd Bwrdd Ieithoedd Modern a Bwrdd Anthropoleg a Daearyddiaeth Prifysgol Rhydychen). Nid oes amheuaeth na lwyddodd i roi bri newydd ar Astudiaethau Celtaidd yn Rhydychen yn ystod ei gyfnod fel Athro yno.

Rhagorai Foster fel cyfarwyddwr ymchwil ac ar un adeg yr oedd pedwar o'r pum Athro Cymraeg ym Mhrifysgol Cymru yn gyn-ddisgyblion iddo. Prin fod neb a gyfarwyddwyd ganddo heb ymdeimlo â dyled drom iddo, yn bersonol yn ogystal ag academaidd. Gymaint oedd ei ymroddiad i addysgu fel yr esgeulusai braidd ei ymchwil a'i gyhoeddi ei hunan, er i bopeth a gyhoeddodd arddangos dysg eang a barn sicr: gweler, er enghraifft, ei Ddarlith Rhŷs The Book of the Anchorite (1950), ei bennod ar Gymru gynnar yn y gyfrol Culture and Environment a gydolygodd â Leslie Alcock (1963) a'i bennod ar yr Hengerdd yn y gyfrol Prehistoric and Early Wales a gydolygodd â Glyn Daniel (1965). O Gylch yr Hengerdd, a sefydlwyd ganddo ac a gyfarfyddai dan ei gadeiryddiaeth yng Ngholeg yr Iesu ddwywaith neu dair bob blwyddyn rhwng 1972 a 1978, fe ddeilliodd y gyfrol Astudiaethau ar yr Hengerdd a olygwyd gan Rachel Bromwich ac R. Brinley Jones (1978) ac a gyflwynwyd i Foster; i'w goffadwriaeth hefyd y cyflwynwyd y gyfrol Early Welsh Poetry: Studies in the Book of Aneirin a olygwyd gan Dr Brynley F. Roberts (1988). Ni lwyddodd, fodd bynnag, i gwblhau ei magnum opus ar Culhwch ac Olwen (y mae lle i gredu ei fod yn ormod o berffeithydd), ond fe wnaed hynny drosto gan ei gyfeillion Rachel Bromwich a D. Simon Evans mewn cyfres o gyfrolau rhwng 1988 a 1997 — cymwynas nodedig â choffadwriaeth yr awdur ac ag ysgolheictod Cymraeg. Gwasanaethodd Foster lu o sefydliadau dysgedig a diwylliannol yn Lloegr yn ogystal â Chymru. Rhaid bodloni yma ar enwi'n unig Anrhydeddus Gymdeithas y Cymmrodorion (y golygodd ei Thrafodion 1953-78), Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (Trysorydd 1964-79; Is-Lywydd 1977-84) ac Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru (Cadeirydd y Cyngor 1970-3, Llywydd y Llys 1973-7). Etholwyd ef yn Gymrawd Cymdeithas yr Hynafiaethwyr yn 1954 a'i urddo'n Farchog yn 1977.

Bu Foster farw o glefyd y galon yn Ysbyty Môn ac Arfon, Bangor, 18 Mehefin 1984 a'i gladdu ym mynwent Eglwys Blwyf Glanogwen, Bethesda 22 Mehefin: fe'i magwyd yn Fethodist Calfinaidd ac ni chollodd erioed ei barch at y traddodiad hwnnw, ond mewn Uchel-eglwysyddiaeth Anglicanaidd y cafodd ei ffydd Gristnogol ddofn ei meithrinfa fwyaf cydnaws. Y mae yn Astudiaethau ar yr hengerdd ffotograff o Idris Ll. Foster.

Awdur

Dyddiad cyhoeddi: 2008

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