Cover image for Dylan the bard : a life of Dylan Thomas
Dylan the bard : a life of Dylan Thomas
Sinclair, Andrew.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2000.

Physical Description:
251 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Constable, 1999.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6039.H52 Z83344 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Dylan Thomas was the best lyric poet of his age, who, by his life as well as his work, brought a new mass audience to his craft. A writer of rare and wonderful gifts, capable of producing some of the most beautiful lines in the language, Dylan was also capable of consuming devastating amounts of alcohol. Dylan the Bard explores how and why this enormously talented writer, torn between a search for personal peace and international notoriety, was slowly defeated by his own self-destructive nature.Mining new material, including personal letters from the poet himself and recently discovered photographs, Andrew Sinclair casts new light on the life, work and death of Dylan. He examines the divisions and tensions of Dylan's Welsh working-class heritage and puritanical English upbringing, and offers fresh, compelling insight into the relation between Dylan's poetry and his life. From Dylan's dream of Wales, to the brawling and boozing in Fitzrovia in the thirties and forties, to the American lecture tour that finally killed him in the early fifties, Dylan the Bardis the tragic and exuberant story of a cult figure in his own time and a poet for all time.

Author Notes

Andrew Sinclair is a novelist, historian, critic, and filmmaker. He is a founding member of Churchill College, Cambridge and has taught and traveled widely across the world. He made the award-winning film -- now regarded as a classic -- of Under Milk Wood and adapted to stage Dylan's Adventures in the Skin Trade. He lives in London and is married to the writer Sonia Melchett

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The most enjoyable literary biographies reflect the vigor and beauty of the subject's work, and prolific Sinclair--a historian, novelist, and director of the 1973 film version of Under Milk Woodharmonizes quite naturally with the oceanic music of Thomas' poetry. Free to eschew the reportorial for the interpretative because Thomas' life is so thoroughly chronicled, he concentrates on seeking the source for both Thomas' glorious writing and self-destructiveness in his "divided heritage" and bifurcated temperament. Sinclair sees Thomas as a descendant of the English conquest of the Welsh bardic tradition, a man forever careening between the quiet of the country and the clamor of the city and its pubs, a puritan in bohemian's clothing, a husband and father who wanted only to be mothered, and a poet whose writing benefited tremendously from his wartime work as a documentary scriptwriter. Laced with the revelations of personal reminiscences and heretofore unpublished letters, Sinclair's fresh and vivid portrait captures the ambience of Thomas' chaotic life, the essence of his roiling spirit, and the indelible power of his timeless writing. Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

This rewrite of the author's Dylan Thomas: No Man More Magical (1975) makes available information discovered about the Welsh poet in the last 25 years. Sinclair, who directed Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the film of Thomas's Under Milk Wood, quotes an approving letter by Caitlin Thomas in his acknowledgements, confirming that this is an authorized work. Like the first, it resembles a meditation on the poet's life rather than the massively detailed tomes biographies are today. Although this new work has some chapter notes (the first had none), the careful reader may wish for more detailed sources. The account of Thomas's death now differs greatly from the 1975 version, owing to information unearthed by James Nashold and George Tremlett (The Death of Dylan Thomas, 1997), who blame mistaken medical treatment rather than drink. However, Sinclair does not cite them as a source. Also included are new photographs [not seen] and an appendix on "The Making of Under Milk Wood," but "Dylan on Dylan" from the 1975 volume is excluded. For Thomas completists and general readers who want an introduction; both George Tremlett's Dylan Thomas (St. Martin's, 1992) and Jonathan Fryer's Dylan (K. Cathie, London, 1993) are more scholarly and readable.DShelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. 11
Acknowledgementsp. 13
1 Before I Knockedp. 19
2 Green as Beginningp. 30
3 A Provincial Bohemianp. 42
4 Miss Johnsonp. 59
5 From Chelsea to Donegalp. 72
6 Soho and Surrealismp. 90
7 Peace before Warp. 102
8 The War at Homep. 119
9 Deeper in Debtp. 138
10 Broadcasting the Wordp. 159
11 Abroadp. 170
12 Laugharne and Awayp. 183
13 Destroyer and Preserverp. 201
14 Heritage and Legacyp. 215
Appendixp. 228
Chapter Notesp. 237
Indexp. 243