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Reading Dylan Thomas$
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Edward Allen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411554

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411554.001.0001

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Introduction: Beyond Milk Wood

Introduction: Beyond Milk Wood

(p.1) Introduction: Beyond Milk Wood
Reading Dylan Thomas

Edward Allen

Edinburgh University Press

This introduction situates Reading Dylan Thomas in three respects: in the wake of the Thomas centenary in 2014; in relation to the shifting dynamic of Thomas criticism, from the 1950s to the present; and in response to ongoing debates about reading practices. In doing so, the introduction returns to the origins of Thomas’s multimedia practice, and takes Under Milk Wood as a test case. In dwelling on this, his most well-known work, the introduction uses Thomas’s ‘play for voices’ to demonstrate both the temptations of reading him reductively – as a mouthpiece for an eccentric strain of Anglo-Welsh writing – and the peril of doing so at a time when the variousness of his art might speak otherwise to modernist scholars. As well as providing a sense of his career’s trajectory, the introduction lays the ground for the subsequent chapters by elucidating what Thomas understood by the word ‘reading’ – its requirements, pitfalls, and possibilities.

Keywords:   Under Milk Wood, Reading, Media, Centenary, Criticism

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