Dylan Thomas : The Biography

Ferris, Paul

Published by Counterpoint, 2000
ISBN 10: 1582430756 / ISBN 13: 9781582430751
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Fine/Fine unread copy protected by Archival Brodart cover. Ferris has updated his original biography published in 1977 by Dial. Especially looks at Thomas's relationship with Caitlin. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Dylan Thomas's life and work have made him a legendary figure in the decades since his death, amidst alcohol and debts, in New York at the age of thirty-nine. At the heart of his achievement are a few dozen poems and stories which, together with his "play for voices", Under Milk Wood, haunt the imagination and give his writing a broader appeal than he could have envisioned in his lifetime.

Consumed by his vocation as The Poet, ever doubting his own talent, Thomas spent much of life reflecting upon his own worth. But beyond his writing is the checkered figure of the man himself: often comic, at times in despair, always self-obsessed, in the end defeated by his own nature.

Review: This new edition of Paul Ferris's perceptive biography, which was originally published in 1977, is primarily notable for its frank portrait of the poet's marriage to Caitlin Macnamara Thomas, who died in 1994. "The essential truth about the Dylan-Caitlin relationship," Ferris writes, "was that his dependent nature left him vulnerable in later years when his wife withdrew her affection and became blatantly promiscuous." Yet the author is not unsympathetic to Caitlin, whose biography he wrote in 1993. The accounts of Thomas's raucous, drunken visits to America, where he died in 1953 at age 39, will certainly incline readers to forgive anything his wife did in revenge. The book's principal strengths remain what they were in 1977: a knowledgeable, in-depth account of the poet's childhood in Wales (Ferris himself was born a mile from Thomas's childhood home); a lucid disentangling of myth from fact in both interviews and contemporary sources; and a sensitive understanding that "behind the public cavortings was a private agony." This is Ferris's real subject, the agony of a boy who was "pretty ... spoiled ... the darling of the family," and who never managed to grow up enough to create a life that would support his poetic gifts. It's a sad story but a fascinating one. --Wendy Smith

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Dylan Thomas : The Biography
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition.

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