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Dylan Thomas: Portrait Of The Artist As A…

Dylan Thomas: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog (original 1940; edition 1968)

by Dylan Thomas

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7531112,333 (3.86)27
Title:Dylan Thomas: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog
Authors:Dylan Thomas
Info:New Directions (1968), Paperback, 123 pages
Collections:Your library

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog by Dylan Thomas (1940)



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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Favorites were The Peaches, Who Do You Wish Was With Us, and One Warm Saturday ( )
  jasonrmcnally | Jul 13, 2016 |
The poet Thomas shares with us nuggets of his youth, adolescence, and early adulthood in these charming stories, many of which are poetically written, with lyrically descriptive sentences of scenes, of emotions, of backgrounds. Some brought upon a giggle. Though not all spoke to me, most did.

Peaches – At the youngest age of his stories, two rambunctious boys enjoy some play time until they were interrupted by a preaching uncle. I was touched by the difference in wealth between Dylan and his playmate Jack which Dylan acknowledged and even exaggerated but also seemed oblivious at the same time. Ah, the age of innocence…

Patricia, Edith, and Arnold – Loved the strength of sisterhood against the player, Arnold.

The Fight – The budding 14 year old poet shares his early poems with us. His speech has flourishes, as though speaking in a play.

Extraordinary Little Cough – A take on bullying and the Little Cough’s (aka George) reaction to it.

Just Like Little Dogs – The youths, just like dogs in heat; this story had some of my favorite passages.

Where Tawe Flows – Dylan collaborates with three other writers to author a novel. The conversation alone amongst the writers was illustrative, without even considering the contents of their writings.

Who Do You Wish Was with Us – This was my most effecting story. Ray’s sad family history and the trauma that imprinted his then young soul was simply moving.

Some Quotes:

On a boy’s ‘love’ – I chuckled (from ‘Extraordinary Little Cough’):
“Although I knew I loved her, I didn’t like anything she said or did.”

On walking at night (one of several good passages from ‘Just Like Little Dogs’):
“…I liked to walk through the wet town after midnight, when the streets were deserted and the window lights out, alone and alive on the glistening tram-lines in dead and empty High Street under the moon, gigantically sad in the damp streets by ghostly Ebenezer Chapel. And I never felt more a part of the remote and overpressing world, or more full of love and arrogance and pity and humility, not for myself alone, but for the living earth I suffered on and for the unfeeling systems in the upper air, Mars and Venus and Brazell and Skully, men in China and St. Thomas, scorning girls and ready girls, soldiers and bullies and policemen and sharp, suspicious buyers of second-hand books, bad, ragged women who’d pretend against the museum wall for a cup of tea, and perfect, unapproachable women out of the fashion magazines, seven feet high, sailing slowly in their flat, glazed creations through steel and glass and velvet...“

On courtship – another chuckle (from ‘Where Tawe Flows’):
“Daphne was the name of the grass-widow in Manselton for whom Mr. Roberts had lost both his reputation and his position in the brewery. He had been in the habit of delivering bottles to her house, free of charge, and he had bought her a cocktail cabinet and given her a hundred pounds and his mother’s rings. In return, she held large parties and never invited him.”

On grapes of wrath – I laughed (from ‘Where Tawe Flows’):
“Mrs. Evans heard the last remark as she came into the room. She was a thin woman with bitter lines, tired hands, the ruins of fine brown eyes, and a superior nose. An unshockable woman, she had once listened to Mr. Roberts’s description of his haemorrhoids for over an hour on a New Year’s Eve and had allowed him, without protest, to call them the grapes of wrath.”

On the common man (from ‘Where Tawe Flows’):
“…I must disagree there. The life of that mythical common denominator, the man-in-the-street, is dull as ditch-water, Mr. Roberts. Capitalist society has made him a mere bundle of repressions and useless habits under that symbol of middle-class divinity, the bowler… The ceaseless toil for bread and butter, the ogres of unemployment, the pettifogging gods of gentility, the hollow lies of the marriage bed. Marriage,…, ‘legal monogamous prostitution.’”

On memory (from ‘Who Do You Wish Was with Us’):
“I had seen him only two days ago in the snooker-room, but his dimpled face was fading, even as I though of him, into the colours of our walk, the ash-white of the road, the common heathers, the green and blue of fields and fragmentary sea, and the memory of his silly voice was lost in the sounds of birds and unreasonably moving leaves in the lack of wind.” ( )
2 vote varwenea | Jul 9, 2015 |
With a title nodding at James Joyce, Thomas' first prose collection (after several volumes of poetry) was published in 1940. Also autobiographical, these ten somewhat bittersweet stories cover different periods in the author's childhood, later youth and early adulthood. These stories are tenderly written, though they have more than a fair share of humour and are definitely written with a twinkle in the eye. They give an interesting insight to the lower-middle class childhood and coming of age Thomas had in 1920s & '30s south Wales. Here is a little flavour of the stories:

The Peaches -

Young Dylan is staying with Aunt Annie, Uncle Jim and older cousin Gwilym at their farm. The dusty and snug summer country routine is broken when arrangements are made for the apparently posh Mrs Williams' son Jack to come and play.

"'Is Mrs Williams very rich?' asked Gwilym.
I told him she had three motor cars and two houses, which was a lie. 'She's the richest woman in Wales, and once she was a mayoress,' I said. 'Are we going to have tea in the best room?'
Annie nodded. 'And a large tin of peaches' she said.
'That old tin's been in the cupboard since Chistmas,' said Gwilym, 'mother's been keeping it for a day like this.' 'They're lovely peaches,' Annie said. She went upstairs to dress like Sunday."

A Visit to Grandpa's -

"It was the first time I had stayed in grandpa's house. The floorboards had squeaked like mice as I climbed into bed, and the mice between the walls had creaked like wood as though another visitor was walking on them."

Dylan's eccentric (and probably senile) Grandpa proceed's to behave very strangely - in a way that alerts a well-drilled corps of villagers to prompt action: 'Dai Thomas has been to Llanstephan, and he's got his waistcoat on' is the uncoded cry that goes up shop by shop...

Patricia, Edith, and Arnold -

A winter scene this time as young Dylan is witness to the family help's despair. The reality dawns on her best friend (the next door girl) and her that their beau-in-common has been a cad. Tears and snowball sodden letters.

The Fight -

Two boys have a fight and end up the best of friends. Dylan visits Dan at his house later that day and they decide to start a magazine called 'The Thunderer'. Dylan reads some of his poetry at the family dinner table.

Extraordinary Little Cough -

"One afternoon, in a particularly bright and glowing August, some years before I knew I was happy, George Hooping, whom we called Little Cough, Sidney Evans, Dan Davies, and I sat on the roof of a lorry travelling to the end of the Peninsular."

So begins an entertaining tale of adventure and girls as the boys go on holiday in the Gower.

Just Like Little Dogs -

An off-season seaside town. Three men shelter from the rain under a railway arch one windy and dark evening.

"Families sat down to supper in rows of short houses, the wireless sets were on, the daughters' young men sat in the front rooms. In neighbouring houses they read the news off the table cloth, and the potatoes from dinner were fried up. Cards were played in the front rooms of houses on the hills. In the houses on tops of the hills families were entertaining friends, and the blinds of the front rooms were not quite drawn. I heard the sea in a cold bit of the cheery night.

One of the strangers said suddenly, in a high, clear voice: 'What are we all doing then?'
'Standing under a bloody arch' said the other one."

Where Tawe Flows -

"Mr Humphries, Mr Roberts, and young Mr Thomas knocked on the front door of Mr Emlyn Evans's small villa 'Lavengro', punctually at nine o'clock in the evening."

The four men proceed to sit and discuss their collaborative attempts at writing together "a novel of provinicial life" chapter by chapter and week by week each Friday at nine o'clock sharp.

Who Do You Wish Was With Us? -

Dylan and his friend Ray embark on a walking trip - once again it's the beautiful Gower Peninsular, so close to Thomas' Swansea.

Old Garbo -

Now Cub reporter at the Tawe News, just before Christmas, Dylan is reviewing a performance called 'The Crucifixion' on his Saturday afternoon off. A masterful character study follows where we see the young writer observing the comings and goings in various local drinking holes.

One Warm Saturday -

Possibly the strongest piece in this collection, it's well suited closing out the collection as it's atmosphere and imagery really linger long after the reading. In a seaside-set story, a young man falls heavily for a girl he sees briefly sitting on a bench reading a book. By chance they meet again later in a nearby pub. An ensuing 'party' sees the frustrated love-struck couple accompanied by a bevvy of other drinkers, chaperones and assorted hangers-on. In an unexpectedly Kafka-esque denouement they somehow manage to lose each other.

Overall, this was an interesting collection I'm glad to have read. I didn't like all of it, but there was enough here to make me want to read more of Thomas' short stories. I particularly liked 'The Peaches', 'A Visit to Grandpa's', 'Just Like Little Dogs', and 'One Warm Saturday' ( )
  Polaris- | Dec 9, 2013 |
I don't like Dylan Thomas' short stories nearly as much as his poetry and Under Milk Wood, but he certainly has a way with words, with descriptions that are fresh and different. For that it gets an extra star than I would normally give it.

A couple of these stories -- 'A Visit to Grandpa's' and 'One Warm Saturday' -- are really going to stick in my mind.

As with Under Milk Wood, likely to reward rereading: I'd read 'The Peaches' and 'Extraordinary Little Cough' before, and I liked them more this time. I also liked them more in the context of the other short stories in the volume, somehow, although they aren't directly connected, other than that they're all at least somewhat autobiographical. There's a wryness about some of them that's appealing, too. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
There's a great deal of interesting characters to these stories and though they don't really knock you over the head, they tend to stick with you for awhile in all their small subtleties. What I really enjoyed about this book is, and excuse me for being very Holden Caufield-y but none of the characters are fake or phony even the guy who convinces two women he loves them both. There's a sense of innocence to these Welsh human beings even when their intentions are not so good and there's also a huge range of people to discover from the preacher man to the grandfather losing his wits to the burgeoning poet who gets a chance to share his words with others. You can't help but feel a love and affection for them.

In a small way, it bears a crucial similarity to James Joyce's Dubliners in that all of these characters could in fact exist and be based on townspeople...yet, the polar opposite nature lies in the fact that none of these people seem to be filled with such depraved crooked malice. ( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dylan Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Claus, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Includes: The Peaches; A Visit to Grandpa's; Patricia, Edith and Arnold; The Flight; Extraordinary Little Cough; Just Like Little Dogs; Where Tawe Flows; Who Do You Wish Was with Us; Old Garbo; and One Warm Sunday.
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Thirteen short stories filled with memorable characters of Thomas's youth.

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