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The love letters of Dylan Thomas (edition 2003)

by Dylan Thomas (Author)

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Member:edwinbcn
Title:The love letters of Dylan Thomas
Authors:Dylan Thomas (Author)
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Collections:Read but unowned, Read All Time, Read in 2012
Rating:**1/2
Tags:English Literature, British Literature, British Poetry, Correspondance, Letters, CASS

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The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas by Dylan Thomas

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The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas is a small volume of 84 pages, containing 35 letters written over the period between September 1933 and June 1953. They are a selection from a larger volume of letters, available as The Collected Letters of Dylan Thomas, with the same publisher.

This selection of The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas is a strange and disappointing publication. In a very short (1.5 page) introduction the apparent unnamed editor describes the book as "just a short selection" which gives its readership a glimpse of Dylan Thomas' life "in a way that is almost incomprehensible to the lost email generation." (p. v)

Love letters are a form of letter writing which is often infused with magic, and they are often considered to belong to the most beautiful among an author's letters "binding the reader by the spell of his words" (p. v).

The problem with The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas is that it does not define what are love letters and what not. Hence, the volume presents letters to nine different women. Some of these letters do not appear to be love letters at all.

The most creative and passionate letters are the first nine letters to Pamela Hansford Johnson, written over a 2-year period from Sept. '33 till Dec. '35, before het met his wife. Throughout the book, there are 15 letters to his wife Caitlin MacNamara. These letters are interspersed with incidental letters, usually just one or two seven other women. One of these is a letter to Edith Sitwell in March 1946. The unnamed editor characterizes this letter as "an attempt to rekindle a profitable friendship".

In 1952, Dylan's wife intercepted an unfinished and unsent letter to Marged Howard Stepney, whom the editor describes as rich and generous to Dylan Thomas. He apologizes to Cait saying that the [letter] was dirty and cadging and lying, and that he wrote it [b]ecause I wanted to see what foul dripping stuff I could hurt myself to write in order to fawn for money.

The picture that emerges of Dylan Thomas is that of a cad, who entices women for money and influence, or simply some attention while away from home.

However, this image is possible only created by the clumsiness of the unnamed editor of the book, who fails to recognize that a successful author may get dozens of letters from admirers, and that a letter addressed to a woman with opening words such as "my love" or "my dear", etc. may express love or simply deep-felt attachment or friendship, while his wife's jealousy is probably an overreaction.

The editor describes Dylan's letter to his wife as an attempt to smooth her disgusted feathers. Disgusted feathers?

Perhaps it was a wise precaution of the editor to appear unnamed; an editor, who perhaps also belongs to the lost email generation. ( )
  edwinbcn | Dec 22, 2012 |
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POETRY & POETS. This is a beautiful, heart-rending account of the point in Dylan Thomas's life that he was torn between two women. His letters to the many women in his life are among the most beautiful and lyrical he wrote. Provoked mostly by separations, they are cajoling, apologetic, uninhibited, tactical and loving. This collection includes letters his first love; to Caitlin, his equally flamboyant wife; and to later loves. Like most great letter writers, Thomas had the gift of writing as if his correspondent stood in front of him. He also used his letters to secure forgiveness, to make excuses or to amuse or deflect. Sensual and earthy, like so much of his poetry, they were all designed to secure Thomas's place in his lover's heart and memory - the purpose of all true love letters. Film tie-in.… (more)

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