Illumination of music : the writings of Dylan Thomas
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In this thesis I examine the importance of music in the writings of Dylan Thomas. Thomas grew up in Wales, and he often suggested that his fascination with the sounds of the English language derived from this Welshness. In this thesis, however, I argue that he was a poet first, a performer second, and a Welshman third. Thomas fell in love with the sounds of words from an early age. His ear for the English language lies at the heart of everything that he wrote. Thomas's early poetry makes considerable use of bold, aggressive sounds. By Death~ and Entrances, however, he is able to use and explore the many subtleties and nuances of language as a musical medium. When Thomas reads his own work, these musical qualities are amplified and fully projected. Under Milk Wood, his play for voices, is probably the best example of Thomas's ability to create pictures, and evoke feelings, through sound. By the end of his life, his writings had indeed become an illumination of music. In this thesis, I set out to show exactly how this came about, and to explore the relationship between Thomas's writing and music.