Books: The Men Who Put Dylan Thomas on the Wireless; Dylan the Bard . by Andrew Sinclair (Constable, Pounds 18.99). Reviewed by Michael Emery

By Emery, Michael | The Birmingham Post (England), February 26, 2000 | Go to article overview

Books: The Men Who Put Dylan Thomas on the Wireless; Dylan the Bard . by Andrew Sinclair (Constable, Pounds 18.99). Reviewed by Michael Emery


Emery, Michael, The Birmingham Post (England)


Long before Jeffrey Bernard was feeling unwell, the pubs of London's Soho had claimed other more talented victims, notably the poet Dylan Thomas.

The young Welshman died in New York's St Vincent's Hospital on November 9 1953 - he was only 39. According to the autopsy the cause of death was "insult to the brain", a phrase although meaningless in British and American parlance, resonates with a resounding clang for those of us familiar with the demon drink.

The story of how Thomas came to so tragic yet inevitable an end is revealed in Andrew Sinclair's Dylan The Bard. This is Sinclair's second attempt at his subject as he first published a biography of Thomas in 1975 that was welcomed by Thomas's widow Caitlin.

Sinclair evidently did not agree with Caitlin that he had delivered the "last words" and gives as his justification the considerable research by others during the intervening 25 years into the myth and legend that is Thomas, and crucially, his access to previously unpublished letters and photographs. It is, therefore, disappointing to report that this slim volume contains little that is new.

Indeed there is one glaring omission. Although acknowledging the importance Thomas's radio broadcasts had in establishing his reputation with the general public, no mention is made of the men responsible for his first broadcasts. They were the great broadcaster and war correspondent Wynford Vaughn Thomas and the man who became the voice of cricket, John Arlott. In a previous incarnation, shortly after the war, Arlott was a BBC radio producer who recognised the genius of Thomas not only as a poet but as a broadcaster, and gave him his first regular employment.

Some of these broadcasts , particularly the prose pieces of reminiscence became internationally famous. In Sinclair's opinion: "There was a magnificence and resonance in the voice of the man which reverberated in the memory". Thomas himself thought he sounded like a "second rate Charles Laughton."

Typically, Thomas nearly ruined his broadcasting career before it had begun. In 1937 Wynford Vaughn Thomas arranged that he do a broadcast of modern poems from his native Swansea for the Welsh Service. With only an hour to go before broadcasting, Thomas was found drunk in a London pub. He was dragged back to Broadcasting House where the cables from Swansea had to be reversed so that the broadcast could go out on time.

He further annoyed the BBC by reading poems by American poets which were still in copyright and for which the BBC had to pay fees they had not anticipated. Dylan's friends in Swansea were equally surprised for they had been expecting to take him out on the town after the broadcast. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Books: The Men Who Put Dylan Thomas on the Wireless; Dylan the Bard . by Andrew Sinclair (Constable, Pounds 18.99). Reviewed by Michael Emery
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.