Dylan Thomas: A Biography

The Virginia Quarterly Review, Autumn 2000 | Go to article overview

Dylan Thomas: A Biography


Dylan Thomas: A Biography, by Paul Ferris.

This is a new edition of Ferris's acclaimed biography of the great Welsh poet and playwright. Ferris seems to want dearly to undermine the more romantic elements of the myths surrounding Dylan Thomas's life and personalit, and in this, it must be said, he succeeds. Ferris is a terrific prose stylist. From the introduction onward Ferris allows of his personal involvement in the research and telling of this story. He never knew Thomas, but he interviewed scores of family, friends, and associates who did, and tells plainly of some of the difficulties inherent in writing a biography of such a problematic character. His many references to conversations with Caitlin Thomas, Dylan's wife, are especially interesting. Thomas was, in many ways, a cad. He stole from friends; he drank heavily; he slept around, and not as often as he would have liked; he milked publishers constantly for advances on books and articles that he never wrote, and did not seem even particulary inclined to write- he just needed the money. …

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