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Distributed for University of Wales Press

R. S. Thomas

A Stylistic Biography

R. S. Thomas (1913–2000) is the most recognizable literary figure in Wales. His controversial politics and public personality made him a cultural icon and, since his death, have led to debates about his cultural significance. Yet such debates have too frequently marginalized the poetry itself, producing a potentially flawed understanding of his work. This study argues that Thomas’s reputation must be grounded in poetry, not personality. Accordingly, the author traces the poet’s development over six decades, analyzing his various prosodies and demonstrating how Thomas’s tensions and anxieties manifest themselves in the continually shifting style of his poems.

215 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2011

University of Wales Press - Writing Wales in English


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“Daniel Westover’s impressive study clears away the critical accretions of the R. S. Thomas industry and recalls us to attend to the sheer intense craft of this most resourceful poet. Though apparently a reclusive traditionalist in his life and thought, Thomas was nonetheless constantly progressive and experimental in his literary techniques and, as we approach the centenary of his birth, this book lets us see the poet afresh according to the only standard by which his work will ultimately live—his artistry.”

Grahame Davies, Honorary Fellow, Cardiff University

Table of Contents

General Editor’s Preface

1. Origins of a Style, 1936–1943
2. A Style Emerging, 1943–1955
3. A Style Defined, 1955–1972
4. A Style Developed, 1972–1988
5. A Style (Un)Refined, 1988–2000

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