Genre(s): Literary Criticism
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Discovering Dylan Thomas is a companion to Dylan Thomas’s published and notebook poems. It includes hitherto-unseen material contained in the recently-discovered fifth notebook, alongside poems, drafts and critical material including summaries of the critical reception of individual poems. The introductory essay considers the task of editing and annotating Thomas, the reception of the Collected Poems and the state of the Dylan Thomas industry, and the nature of Thomas’s reading, ‘influences’, allusions and intertextuality. It is followed by supplementary poems, including juvenilia and the notebook poems ‘The Woman Speaks’, original versions of ‘Grief thief of time’ and ‘I fellowed sleep’, and ‘Jack of Christ’, all of which were omitted from the Collected Poems. These are followed by annotations beginning with a discussion of Thomas’s juvenilia, and the relationship between plagiarism and parody in his work; poem-by-poem entries offer glosses, new material from the fifth notebook, critical histories for each poem, and variants of poems such as ‘Holy Spring’ and ‘On a Wedding Anniversary’ (including a magnificent, previously unpublished first draft of ‘A Refusal to Mourn’). The closing appendices deal with text and publication details for the collections Thomas published in his lifetime, the provenance and contents of the fifth notebook, and errata for the hardback edition of the Collected Poems.
‘The return of Dylan Thomas’s poetry to its proper high valuation, and a positive reassessment of its influence, have been to a remarkable extent the work of John Goodby as editor and critic. This volume is the essential scholarly companion to Goodby’s definitive edition of Thomas’s poems.’
- Professor John Wilkinson, University of Chicago
‘John Goodby’s long awaited Discovering Dylan is a marvellous book, and it is a loyal companion in the best possible sense to Thomas’s poems and notebooks (including the extraordinary fifth notebook). For it elucidates how the poems work and their relationships to each other, it shines light onto many sources and contexts, and it is written with a deft and knowledgeable style, demonstrating why Thomas scholarship has changed so much in recent years. Discovering Dylan is now the starting point for all future criticism – and appreciation – of this wonderful and complex poet.’
- Dr Leo Mellor, Cambridge University