Dylan Thomas's expressive, highly imaginative re-creation of forms and language intimately portrays his inner self and his time, earning him renown as one of the "great individualists of modern art." In this contemplative, focused study of poems, stories and other works by Thomas, including Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog and Under Milk Wood, Barbara Hardy emphasizes his creative achievements and high intelligence, analyzing his regional identity; response to other writers, especially James Joyce; modernist style; subject matter; use of language; and themes of art and the natural world.
Thomas, a Welsh writer, never a nationalist, put into his writing a subtle response to regional landscape, particular people and places, and social context, including the 1930s depression, rural poverty, and war. His poetry and prose are passionate, sensuous, and artistically self-aware. The poetry is especially congenial in its imaginative celebration of greenness--literal, metaphorical, and political. To adapt the words of Charles Lamb, the poet is in "love with this green earth."
Hardy describes Thomas as a resourceful "language-changer" who, like Shakespeare, Dickens, Hopkins, and Joyce, transforms the English language. Through writing so uniquely inventive that it alters the reader's perception of language, Thomas left us with works that are as fresh and relevant to today's world as they were at their debut.