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Caitlin Thomas (1913–1994)

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Caitlin Thomas, née Macnamara, was born in London to a decayed Anglo-Irish landowning family from County Clare. Her sister Nicolette Macnamara Devas grew up to became a painter and writer. When Caitlin was a small child, her parents separated, and she moved with her mother and siblings to a house near Ringwood, Hampshire, on the edge of the New Forest, where they were close friends of the painter Augustus John and his family. In 1930, at age 16, she returned to London and entered dancing school; by 18, she was dancing in a London chorus line. After studying the Isadora Duncan style of dancing, she lived for a brief time in Paris before going to County Clare with her father. In 1936, she met Dylan Thomas in a pub in London; they began a relationship through correspondence and married the following year. The couple lived a peripatetic and bohemian lifestyle, moving from Chelsea to Wales, Oxford, Ireland, and Italy. They eventually settled in a cottage in the village of Laugharne, Wales, in 1938 and had three children. The marriage was famously tempestuous, fuelled by alcohol and infidelity. She became more and more frustrated at being left behind to raise the children and deal with the bills while her husband spent his time traveling for poetry readings and carousing. Following his premature death in 1953, she published a frank memoir, Leftover Life to Kill (1957). She had been spending an increasing amount of time in Italy, and finally decided to move there. She never married again, but had a long-term relationship with Giuseppe Fazio, with whom she had a son when she was 49. In 1963, she published her second book, Not Quite Posthumous Letters to My Daughter. In 1986, she published her autobiography, Caitlin: Life with Dylan Thomas.
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