Do Not Go Quietly Into That Good Night  Term Paper

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Dylan Thomas once said of himself, "I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me, and my enquiry is as to their working, and my problem is their subjugation and victory, downthrow and upheaval, and my effort is their self-expression." Thomas was one of the best-known British poets of the twentieth century and is best remembered for his powerful poetry readings over BBC radio and his amusing tales and plays, as well as his highly publicized personal life.

Thomas possessed tremendous talent and was blessed with immense gifts that made him a professional success at a relatively young age, however, his personal life was often disappointing and his relationships were more often than not in a state of shambles.

Some believe these failures were rooted in his inability to cope with the demands of sudden fame as perhaps explained by the "various ways his personality have been described: alternately as humble, shy, confused and insecure on the inside, but outwardly neglectful, selfish, and egotistical, yet always and extremely, charming." A controversial figure to the end, Dylan Thomas left behind legacy of critically acclaimed literary works.

Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on October 27, 1914, in Swansea in southern Wales. His mother, Florence, was a housewife, and David John, his father, an English Literature teacher at Swansea Grammar School, both from Welsh backgrounds with dozens of relatives in surrounding towns and villages who were heavily influenced by religion and tradition. A precocious child with pretty blond curls, Dylan soon found he could get away with many things and apparently never hesitated to take advantage of it. He was exposed to poetry at the early age of two by his father, and by four, he was reciting verses from Shakespeare. Perhaps it was this early exposure to poetry that instilled in him a fascination for words, as he once wrote:

The first poems I knew were nursery rhymes, and before I could read them for myself I had come to love just the words of them, the words alone...the very sound of them as I heard them for the first time...and those words were, to me, as the notes of bells, the sounds of musical instruments, the noises of wind, sea, and rain, the rattle of milkcarts, the clapping of hooves on cobbles, the fingering of branches on a window pane, might be to someone deaf from birth, who has miraculously found his hearing."

Thomas was writing his own poetry by the age of eight and by sixteen had dropped out of Swansea Grammar School to pursue his career by working at the South Wales Daily Post writing reviews and critiques of local plays and concerts. During this time he gained a reputation for telling stories, offbeat jokes and obscene limericks in the local pubs, and for insisting on reading his poems aloud rather than allowing them to be read.

By 1933, his work was being published in literary magazines and by 1934, his first book of poem, '18 Poems' was published. In 1937 he recorded his first broadcast for the BBC and by 1950, his fame had grown so that he was asked to tour the United States on a lecture circuit traveling coast-to-coast from New York to California, "giving readings at over forty universities, schools and colleges." His offstage behavior became a public scandal as his drunken antics shocked and outraged many critics. Nevertheless, his 'Collected Poems' were published in 1952 and was hailed as a major literary achievement and was awarded the William Foyle Poetry Prize that year and the Etna-Taormina International Prize in 1953.

In December 1952, after a long illness, Thomas' father died as Dylan was holding his hand and the strong emotions of the experience is said to have contributed to the writing…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Dylan Marlais Thomas: His Craft, His Life" http://home.earthlink.net/~tenspeed/SimonaSara/dylan.htm.(accessed 12-02-2003).

Mondragon, Brenda C. "Dylan Marlais Thomas: 1914-1953." http://www.neuroticpoets.com/thomas/.(accessed 12-02-2003).

Westphal, Jonathan. "Thomas's 'Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.'"

The Explicator. January 01, 1994.

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