EDITED BY PAUL FERRIS    Book Number: 86941    Product format: Unknown

An incomparable self-portrait of an enchanting, maddening and ultimately tragic poet, we are thrilled to have the two volume reprinted definitive collection of his letters. The first volume spans his childhood in Wales to days leading up to the outbreak of WW2. They are remarkable for their poetry, style and vision, deviousness, jokes and self-caricatures. The schoolboy editor becomes the passionate show off, the young would-be lecher turns into the husband of Caitlin Macnamara, the adolescent whose notebooks were full of poems "bursting with black and green rhythms" is lauded by the literary world. More than a hundred new letters have been added since Paul Ferris edited the first edition of The Collective Letters in 1985. Volume I begins with Thomas's adolescence in Swansea and brings his love affair with Caitlin into sharper focus. Thomas was an enthusiastic critic of other writers' work and the letters are full of his thoughts on his contemporaries from T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden to Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis. 476pp in paperback and apologies if slightly dirty page edges. Published at £20. Dylan Thomas The Collected Letters Volume Two 1939-1953 edited by Paul Ferris spans the outbreak of WW2 to the days just before Dylan Thomas's death in New York at the age of 39. Like no biography can, the letters bring his life and times of the tempestuous poet to life. At his best when addressing people he liked, who were often the 'sub men' he enjoyed drinking with, 'hack Fleet Streeters, assistant film producers, professional drunks, strays and outlaws', he had an unfailing eye for the frailties of human behaviour including his own. He loved, wrote, drank, begged and borrowed his way through a flamboyant life, determined to support his family, and rarely at peace with himself. Each letter takes the reader further along the path of the poet's self-destruction and are written with verve and lyricism. Fascinating letters include ones to Edith Sitwell in her villa in Italy, social arrangements with Douglas Cleverdon or about payments and travel arrangements with Jean Leroy, to John Arlott and love letters to Caitlin: 15th August 1945 while was staying at Mervyn Peak's flat. "I have never missed you more nor loved you more, and every long night without you has been sleepless and fear-filled..." The roll call of names of his correspondence is quite extraordinary and we enter a long-past literary world with cries of despair to rare moments of happiness in Wales. Witty and wise words. 594pp in softback published at £20. Set of two.
Published price: £40
Bibliophile price: £9.00

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