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Thesis title: Representations of Society in Dylan Thomas’ Prose Works
Start year: 2009
The politicization of Thomas’ poetic throughout the early ‘thirties has been the subject of renewed critical interest, with particular attention being paid to the role of Communism in his aesthetic. By analysing the form and content of the short stories he wrote during this period, as well as later on whilst working for the Ministry of Information and after, I hope to show that a definable socialist ethic was at work, one which was fostered by the predominantly left-wing political climate of his native Swansea. Thomas’ association with socialist figures during his formative years in his home town is of particular interest, as well as the way in which Thomas maintained distinctly socialist views throughout his lifetime, and how these views informed his expression of society in his non-poetic works. I’m looking at the short, semi-autobiographical stories written in the earlier part of Thomas’ career, including a number of stories from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, as well as Under Milk Wood, Rebecca’s Daughters and The Beach of Falesé, the Radio Works and Film scripts.
A recurrent theme of more recent critical writing on Dylan Thomas is the call for a review of Thomas’ work, due, in part, to the recent fiftieth anniversary of his death. Pioneers of Thomas study, such as Raymond Williams, began in the late ‘fifties what is only recently being picked up as an attempt to legitimise and validate Thomas as an author of socially aware, socially accessible literature with a detectable socialist agenda. These studies have, understandably, focused on his poetry. A critical study of his prose and other non-poetic works might therefore be timely.
Dylan Thomas, socialism, society
Welsh Literature, socialism