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This report is taken from PN Review 126, Volume 25 Number 4, March - April 1999.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

The Dylan Thomas industry, fuelled from abroad, shows no sign of recession. The 'highly selective list' of commentaries on Thomas's life and work in John Harris's excellent Bibliographical Guide to Twenty-five Modern Anglo-Welsh Writers (University of Wales Press) swells his entry to fifty-six pages. Only David Jones and R.S. Thomas among the other poets represented have more than twenty; Raymond Williams with thirty-one reaches the foothills of his peak. The mantle of the Dylan Thomas School, run successfully for several years at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth by Walford Davies (still, for my money, the best critical interpreter of the poet) seems to have passed to Swansea. As Thomas's birthplace, the 'ugly, lovely town' ought to have been first in the field, but let that pass. In August, the Dylan Thomas Centre, a fairly recent metamorphosis of the 1995 Year of Literature T...y Llên, housed a Dylan Thomas Festival, which aimed at attracting the wider public as well as the usual academic interests, though the latter were catered for in a fourday conference hosted by the University of Wales, Swansea Department of English. The festival closed with a performance of jazz pianist Stan Tracey's Under Milk Wood Suite, which accompanied readings from the play by Philip Madoc. However translated and transformed, the play can still attract an audience. A reprise of the festival is planned for next year.

I was present when, in the autumn of 1952, almost exactly a year before he died in New ...


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