Dylan Thomas

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his sonorous voice with a subtle Welsh lilt became almost as famous as his works. His best-known works include the "play for voices" Under Milk Wood and the celebrated villanelle  for his dying father, Do not go gentle into that good night. Appreciative critics have also noted the superb craftsmanship and compression of poems such as In my craft or sullen art[3]  and the rhapsodic lyricism of Fern Hill.

Early life

Dylan Thomas was born at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands area of Swansea, South Wales, on 27 of October 1914 just a few months after the new house was bought by the Thomas family. Uplands was, and still is, one of the more affluent areas of the city, which kept him away from the more industrial areas. His father, David John ('DJ') Thomas, was an English master who taught English literature at the local grammar school. His mother, Florence Hannah Thomas (née Williams), was a seamstress born in Swansea. Dylan had a sister, Nancy, nine years older than him. Their father brought up both children to speak English only, even though both parents also knew Welsh and DJ was known to give Welsh lessons at home to children.

Dylan is pronounced in Welsh, and in the early part of his career some announcers introduced him using this pronunciation. However, Dylan himself favoured the anglicised pronunciation his mother was afraid that the Welsh pronunciation would be corrupted into 'Dull One'[citation needed]. His middle name, Marlais, was given to him in honour of his great-uncle, Unitarian minister William Thomas, whose bardic name was Gwilym Marles.

His childhood was spent largely in Swansea, with regular summer trips to visit his maternal aunt's Carmarthenshire dairy farm. These rural sojourns and the contrast with the town life of Swansea provided inspiration for much of his work, notably many short stories, radio essays and the poem Fern Hill. Thomas was known to be a sickly child who shied away from school and preferred reading on his own and was considered too frail to fight in World War II, instead serving the war effort by writing scripts for the government. He suffered from bronchitis and asthma.

Thomas's formal education began at Mrs. Hole's 'Dame School', a private school, which was situated a few streets away on Mirador Crescent. He described his experience there in Quite Early One Morning (New Directions Publishing, 1968).

Never was there such a dame school as ours, so firm and kind and smelling of galoshes, with the sweet and fumbled music of the piano lessons drifting down from upstairs to the lonely schoolroom, where only the sometimes tearful wicked sat over undone sums, or to repent a little crime — the pulling of a girl's hair during geography, the sly shin kick under the table during English literature."

In October 1925, Thomas attended the single-sex Swansea Grammar School, in the Mount Pleasant district of the city. Thomas's first poem was published in the school's magazine, of which he later became an editor. He left school at 16 to become a reporter for the local newspaper, the South Wales Daily Post only to leave the job under pressure 18 months later in 1932. He then joined an amateur dramatic group in Mumbles, but still continued to work as a freelance journalist for a few more years.

Thomas spent his days visiting the cinema in the Uplands, walking along Swansea Bay, and frequenting Swansea's public houses, especially those in the Mumbles area, the 'Antelope Hotel' and 'The Mermaid Hotel'; a theatre he used to perform at, among them. Thomas was also a regular patron of the 'Kardomah Café' in Castle Street in the centre of Swansea, a short walk from the local newspaper for which he worked, where he mingled with various contemporaries, such as his good friend poet Vernon Watkins. These poets, musicians, and artists became known as 'The Kardomah Gang'.

In 1932, Thomas embarked on what would be one of his various visits to London.

In February 1941, Swansea was bombed by the Luftwaffe in a 'three nights' blitz'. Castle Street was just one of the many streets in Swansea that suffered badly; the rows of shops, including the 'Kardomah Café', were destroyed. Thomas later wrote about this in his radio play Return Journey Home, in which he describes the café as being "razed to the snow". Return Journey Home was first broadcast on 15 June 1947, having been written soon after the bombing raids. Thomas walked the bombed-out shell which was once his home town centre with his friend Bert Trick. Upset at the sight, he concluded, "Our Swansea is dead". The 'Kardomah Café' later reopened on Portland street, not far from the original location.


Thomas's verbal style played against strict verse forms, such as the villanelle Do not go gentle into that good night. His images were carefully ordered in a patterned sequence, and his major theme was the unity of all life, the continuing process of life and death and new life that linked the generations. Thomas saw biology as a magical transformation producing unity out of diversity, and in his poetry he sought a poetic ritual to celebrate this unity. He saw men and women locked in cycles of growth, love, procreation, new growth, death, and new life again. Therefore, each image engenders its opposite. Thomas derived his closely woven, sometimes self-contradictory images from the Bible, Welsh folklore and preaching, and Freud.

In reply to a letter in which the writer expressed their love for his poetry but was concerned that they may have misunderstood what the poet meant, Thomas replied that a poem was like a city having many entrances: poetry was the apex of culture, the spire of civilisations, the scalpel of emotion and the anvil of thought, whispering and bellowing the unsayable with mere words


Thomas's poetry is famous for its musicality, most notable in poems such as Fern Hill, In the White Giant's Thigh, In Country Sleep and Ballad of the Long-legged Bait. Do not go gentle into that good night, possibly his most popular poem, is unrepresentative of his usual poetic style. Following are a few examples.

From In my Craft or Sullen Art:

    Not for the proud man apart
    From the raging moon I write
    On these spindrift pages
    Nor for the towering dead
    With their nightingales and psalms
    But for the lovers, their arms
    Round the griefs of the ages,
    Who pay no praise or wages
    Nor heed my craft or art.

From In the White Giant's Thigh:

    Who once were a bloom of wayside brides in the hawed house
    and heard the lewd, wooed field flow to the coming frost,
    the scurrying, furred small friars squeal in the dowse
    of day, in the thistle aisles, till the white owl crossed. . .

Thomas's poem And death shall have no dominion is noted for its metaphysical sentiment and assertion of the eternal continuity of life in nature.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    Dead men naked they shall be one
    With the man in the wind and the west moon;
    When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
    They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
    Though they go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again
    Though lovers be lost love shall not;
    And death shall have no dominion.

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