Dylan Thomas

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Thomas, Dylan

(dĭl`ən), 1914–53, Welsh poet, b. Swansea. An extraordinarily individualistic writer, Thomas is ranked among the great 20th-century poets. He grew up in Swansea, the son of a teacher, but left school at 17 to become a journalist and moved to London two years later. His Eighteen Poems, published in 1934, created controversy but won him immediate fame, which grew with the publication of Twenty-five Poems (1936), The Map of Love (1939; containing poetry and surrealistic prose), The World I Breathe (1939; also containing some prose), Deaths and Entrances (1946), and In Country Sleep and Other Poems (1952).

The prose Thomas published is fragmented into stories and sketches, many autobiographical or pseudo-autobiographical, all touched with fantasy; they are collected in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940), Adventures in the Skin Trade (1955), and Quite Early One Morning (1955). He had a remarkable speaking voice, flexible and resonant, and his radio readings over the BBC were popular. In addition he wrote for the radio A Child's Christmas in Wales (published 1954) and his striking dramatic work, Under Milk Wood (published 1954), which records life and love and introspection in a small Welsh town.

Thomas's themes are traditional—love, death, mutability—and over the years he seemed to pass from religious doubt to joyous faith in God. His complex imagery is based on many sources, including Welsh legend, Christian symbolism, witchcraft, astronomy, and Freudian psychology; the private myth he created makes his early poetry hard to understand. Yet his sure mastery of sound (perhaps related to his fine voice), his warm humor, and his robust love of life attract the reader instantaneously.

Thomas greatly enjoyed his success but lived recklessly and drank heavily. His third highly popular tour of the United States ended in his death, which was brought on by alcoholism. The autobiography of Thomas's wife, Caitlin Thomas, Leftover Life to Kill (1957), and the account of the Thomases' tours by J. M. Brinnin, Dylan Thomas in America (1955), vividly describe his last years.


See his Collected Poems (1953); his letters, ed. by C. FitzGibbon (1967); his notebooks, ed. by R. Maud (1967); biographies by C. FitzGibbon (1965), J. Ackerman (1965), and A. Lycett (2004); studies by W. Y. Tindall (1962), W. T. Moynihan (1966), R. Kidder (1973), and W. Davies (1990).

References in periodicals archive ?
This is a must have DVD for any Dylan Thomas fan and lover of great literature.
Though Dylan Thomas didn't blossom until he tackled 1m2f to 1m4f at three to four - during which time he won six Group 1s over those distances - he was no slouch at two, winning on his debut over 7f in the June and a competitive renewal of the Irish Breeders Foal Levy Stakes.
As Dylan Thomas continued to slide, Scorpion, winner of Epsom's Coronation Cup on yielding ground last month, was backed into 3.
Catherine Zeta Jones with her son Dylan, who shares his name with Dylan Thomas, who is the figurehead of a new literary prize supported by Catherine
Geoff Haden, chairman of the Dylan Thomas Society, who runs the Dylan Thomas Birthplace, said: "Gordon was a lovely gentle person with an impish sense of humour which he maintained until the last.
30pm, Powis Hall: A |Tribute to Dylan Thomas in verse and song - A song recital by soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, with readings by crowned bard Ifor ap Glyn from 'My Friend Dylan Thomas.
Cllr Nick Bradley, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: "This is a major coup for Swansea at a time when the Dylan Thomas 2014 Festival, to mark the centenary of his birth, is ongoing.
O'Brien was at Sha Tin to watch both Dylan Thomas and Excellent Art perform fast work in preparation for this weekend's Cathay Pacific International meeting, and he said of Dylan Thomas: "We know just how good he is on his good days and he seems to be in fine form now, but he has had a long, hard season.
While Michael Kinane will partner most of Aidan O'Brien's main contenders at Royal Ascot, including George Washington, Yeats, Scorpion, Henrythenavigator and Warsaw, Christophe Soumillon is expected to partner Dylan Thomas on Wednesday.
Geoff Haden, who runs the Dylan Thomas birthplace attraction in Swansea's Cwmdonkin Drive, was annoyed the plaque had not been affixed to a postbox there from where Dylan sent many letters.
The MP said: "Although he achieved significant international acclaim, Dylan Thomas was, first and foremost, a Welshman.
The new book version, which will also be available as an Internet app from the Welsh Government and The British Council, is part of the worldwide Dylan Thomas Centenary celebrations, DT100.