Dylan Thomas

Author(s): Walford Davies

Language: English

Genre(s): Welsh Interest

Series: Writers of Wales

  • April 2014 · 208pages · 216x138mm

  • ·Paperback - 9781783160587
  • · eBook - epub - 9781783161522
  • · eBook - mobi - 9781783161539
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781783160594

About The Book

This critical study covers the whole range of Dylan Thomas’s writing, both poetry and prose, in an accessible appraisal of the work and achievement of a major and dynamic poet. It interrelates the man and his national-cultural background by defining in detail the Welshness of his poetic temperament and critical attitudes, as both man and poet. At the same time, it illustrates Thomas’s wide knowledge of and impact on the long and varied tradition of poetry in English. In that connection, it delineates and delimits Thomas’s relationship to surrealism, compares and contrasts his work with that of other poets of the 1930s and 1940s, and shows how its power survives his early death in 1953, in the decade of the ‘Movement’ poets and beyond. A major aspect of this book is the close textual analysis of the works quoted; it explores anew the recognition due to the man who wrote the work, and helps us to separate the intrinsic achievement of the work from the foisted perceptions of the ‘legend’.


Walford Davies's sympathetic introduction to the character and writing of Dylan Thomas, one of the great twentieth-century poets, is illuminating for new or experienced readers. His appraisal and close readings are warmly personal, rooted in Welsh literary and social culture. - Prof. Barbara Hardy, Professor of English Literature Emeritus, University of London Walford Davies displays commendable but misplaced modesty in calling this extensively revised centenary edition of his celebrated study of Dylan Thomas an 'essay'. It is, rather, a sustained, even ecstatic meditation on the meaning of the life and the work of one of the great English language writers of the twentieth century. The book performs a miracle of compression in distilling a lifetime's learning and reflection into manageable space and offering elegant readings not only of Thomas's key writings in poetry, fiction and broadcast media but of his biographical and cultural contexts. The poet's debt to the Welsh-speaking, Non-Conformist milieu of his immediate ancestry is sensitively illuminated, and his place in the British poetry of his time and in the long history of verse in English from Chaucer to Heaney delineated with formidable skill and erudition. The volume is in the best sense a work of advocacy - and one as dapper, witty and unfanatical as it is impassioned. - Prof. Patrick Crotty, University of Aberdeen


1 ‘Begin at the beginning’: introductory 2 ‘The sideboard fruit, the ferns’: the poet in suburbia 3 ‘The loud hill of Wales’: theWelshness of the work 4 ‘I’ll put them all in a story by and by’: aspects of the prose 5 ‘Now my saying shall be my undoing’: the need to change 6 ‘Criss-cross rhythms’: comparisons of earlier and later poems 77 7 ‘Ann’s bard on a raised hearth’: towards ‘After the funeral (In Memory of Ann Jones)’ 8 ‘Mostly bare I would lie down’: a creative decade ends in war 9 ‘Arc-lamped thrown back upon the cutting flood’; ‘This unbelievable lack of wires’: wartime, film work, broadcasts 98 10 ‘We hid our fears in that murdering breath’: the war elegies 11 ‘Parables of sun light’: towards ‘Poem in October’, ‘Fern Hill’, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ and beyond

About the Author(s)

Walford Davies

Professor Walford Davies is a leading authority on the Dylan Thomas. He is the author of Dylan Thomas (Open University Press), co-editor with Ralph Maud of the definitive editions of Thomas’s Collected Poems 1934–1953 and Under Milk Wood (Dent), and editor of Selected Poems and Under Milk Wood for Penguin.

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