R.S. Thomas

Serial Obsessive

Author(s): M. Wynn Thomas

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

  • February 2013 · 304pages · 234x156mm

  • ·Paperback - 9780708326138
  • · eBook - epub - 9781783160211
  • · eBook - mobi - 9781783160228
  • · eBook - pdf - 9780708326619

About The Book

The study places the work of a major religious poet of the late twentieth century in a number of striking new perspectives that allow him to be viewed for the first time as an ‘alternative’ war poet, a conscience-stricken pacifist, a jealously opportunistic student of art, and an experimental biographer of the modern soul. Published to mark the centenary of the ‘ogre of Wales’, this volume deals with the idées fixes that serially possessed the fiercely intense imagination of R. S. Thomas: Iago Prytherch, Wales, his family and, of course, a vexingly elusive deity. Here, these familiar obsessions are set in several unusual contexts that bring Thomas’s poetry into startling new relief. The war poetry is considered alongside the poet’s early relationship to the English topographical tradition; comparisons with Borges and Levertov underline the international dimensions of the poetry’s concerns; the intriguing ‘secret code’ of some of Thomas’s Welsh-language references is cracked; and his painting-poems (including several hitherto unpublished) are brought centre-stage from the peripheries to which they have been routinely relegated.


This previously uncollected collection of essays on R. S. Thomas illustrates, once again, that M. Wynn Thomas has continued to be what he has been from the beginning - R. S. Thomas's finest critic. Professor William Davis, Baylor University, Texas M. Wynn Thomas circles his subject obsessively, approaching the work of R. S. Thomas in the contexts in turn of its changing times, its gravely playful theological speculations, its dialogue with American verse, its relationship to painting, and much else besides. The result is a cubist portrait of the artist and his work, a seeing-round-corners miracle of insight and illumination. R.S. Thomas is presented less in the round than the polyhedron, the kinks, angles and many faces of his profound and sometimes difficult poetry brought suddenly into the light by a formidably learned and delicate intelligence. Professor Thomas moves gracefully between the two literatures of Wales - his chapter on the clergyman poet's debt to the example of Saunders Lewis is a tour-de-force of trans-lingual subtlety - and between Welsh and international perspectives. R. S. Thomas: Serial Obsessive must be counted an indispensable book for anyone interested in modern poetry or modern Wales. Professor Patrick Crotty, the University of Aberdeen


Introduction 1 War Poet 2 For Wales See Landscape 3 The disappearing clergyman 4 Son of Saunders 5 Family Matters 6 The leper of Abercuawg 7 Irony in the soul: R. (S)ocrates Thomas 8 Time’s Changeling 9 The Fantastic Side of God 10 Transatlantic Relations 11 The Fast-Dipping Brush 12 The brush’s piety

About the Author(s)

M. Wynn Thomas

M. Wynn Thomas is Professor of English and Emyr Humphreys Professor of Welsh Writing in English at Swansea University.

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