Artists in Dylan Thomas's Prose Works

Artists in Dylan Thomas's Prose Works: Adam Naming and Aesop Fabling

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Artists in Dylan Thomas's Prose Works
    Book Description:

    Through an analysis of the artist figures in Thomas's early experimental prose, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, Adventures in the Skin Trade, and Under Milk Wood, Mayer illustrates that he was continually exploring and re-evaluating his vocation, the nature of his chosen medium, and the world itself. Mayer links Thomas's prose works to his poetry through the blending of lyric and narrative strategies. As well, she examines Thomas's self-conscious concerns about his relationship to his modernist contemporaries.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6541-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    The initial impetus for this study was twofold: to explore the but relatively neglected prose works of Dylan Thomas, and examine the numerous self-referential and metafictional instances within them. Many of the prose works contain representational forms such as dreams, fantasies, maps, books, and stories. Also predominant are a variety of artist figures, through whom Thomas explores the nature of creation and the medium which he creates, through self-conscious acts of writing and telling.

    In the existing critical studies of Dylan Thomas’s work, the comparatively large body of short stories by the author has been largely passed over, considered “side...

  6. 1 The Written World
    (pp. 13-53)

    Thomas employs a wide variety of strategies in his early experimental fiction – fragmentation, repetition, dense poetic structures, metafiction, fable, myth, dream, implicit and explicit allusion – which combine to form a body of tales both diverse and complex. What these stories share is a concern with the nature of art and the creative process; it is through a study of these self-conscious tales, and more specifically through an analysis of the numerous artist figures within them, that one can reconstruct a Thomasian poetic which illuminates much in both the prose and the poetry. The early stories expose many concerns which Thomas...

  7. 2 Solipsistic Adam
    (pp. 54-84)

    The few studies concerned with the early prose works make very little mention of the predominant artist figures within them. Even the more extensive studies to date, such as those by Annis Pratt and Linden Peach, make little or no reference to the self-reflective nature of these stories. Although signs of intertextuality are sometimes noted (in some cases as examples of Thomas’s literary inferiority), critics generally have not viewed these similarities as central to a Thomasian poetic. The present study regards both the intertextuality and the self-reflexivity as characteristic of Thomas’s central concern with the Adamic artist, linguistically taking possession...

  8. 3 Portraits of the Artist
    (pp. 85-135)

    Like the early tales, Thomas’s later short stories inPortrait of the Artist as a Young Dogreveal much about his changing conceptions of language, literature, the function of art, and art’s relation to life. What eventually emerges is a portrait very different in both style and subject matter from those found in the early works. The early stories illustrate a mythologizing of the creative process. The artist is generally depicted as a type, someone of unusual vision whose special status is used to explore the discrepancies between image and reality. A godlike creator-destroyer, he transforms an already written world...

  9. 4 Under Milk Wood
    (pp. 136-170)

    Following the publication ofAdventures in the Skin Tradein 1941, Thomas devoted most of his time to making a living for his family, and his output of both poetry and prose virtually came to a halt until after the war. His time did not go to waste, however, for the work that he did during the war, in film and radio, helped to propel his writing in new directions. Out of this period came some of the most famous poems, such as “Poem in October,” “A Refusal to Mourn,” and “Fern Hill.” The dramatic and aural possibilities that opened...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 171-180)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 181-188)
  12. Index
    (pp. 189-198)