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Under Milk Wood: The Definitive Edition Paperback – 2 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (2 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753810492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753810491
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The definitive edition of one of Dylan Thomas's most famous works.

About the Author

Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea on 27 October 1914, the son of a senior English master. On leaving school he worked on the South Wales Evening Post before embarking on his literary career in London. Not only a poet, he wrote short stories, film scripts, features and radio plays, the most famous being Under Milk Wood. On 9 November 1953, shortly after his thirty-ninth birthday, he collapsed and died in New York city. He is buried in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, which had become his main home since 1949. In 1982 a memorial stone to commemorate him was unveiled in 'Poet's Corner' in Westminster Abbey.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 15 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Written as a "play for voices" for the BBC, this work was originally performed in 1954, with Richard Burton as the First Voice, connecting all thirty-three characters--men, women, and small children. Depicting one full day in the life of Llareggub, a small town in Wales, Thomas shows its motley residents as they awaken, perform their daily tasks, socialize and gossip, and daydream about the past that might have been and the future that may yet offer hope. As is always the case with Thomas, the "play" is full of alliteration and various kinds of rhyme, with nouns and adjectives used as verbs to convey action and sense impressions simultaneously. A wry humor (Try reading the name of the town backwards, for example) and an honesty of feeling make the work engaging for the reader and charmingly illustrative of a time and place now gone.
Individual characters come alive through their own voices and through the gossip of others, spread by the postman and by neighbors. When night falls and the residents retire, their additional losses and disappointments, along with their escapes into dreams, are given voice and poignancy. Polly Garter, with her numerous children by numerous fathers, dreams of Willie Weasel, a very small man who was the love of her life. Captain Cat, the blind bell-ringer, thinks of all the sailors he knew who died at sea and Mr. Pugh dreams of poisoning his wife.
Simple songs add to the realism and the sense of character and place. An elegiac song by Polly Garter, as she remembers Willie and compares him to her other lovers, conveys an almost palpable sadness and makes Polly one of the most memorable characters. A humorous singing game by children adds to the realism, and young Gwenny's song to three very young boys is full of cheeky humor. Filled with the hurly-burly of everyday life in a small town in 1950s Wales, this and A Child's Christmas in Wales are among Thomas's most beloved works. Mary Whipple
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Liz Briggs on 21 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even in the revised version, this book contains a hugely enjoyable and richly imagined text. I purchased this hardback edition to replace my old paperback (1962) and found several alterations to the original text. The most obvious was that in places the two narrative voices had been combined into one and printed in the form of an italicized paragraph that I occasionally found hard to read. But it could be because, like Mary Ann Sailors, I know exactly how old I have become! However, the format does not detract from the wonderful collection of quirky, funny and tragic characters, wakening from their dreams to live out the minutiae of their lives through the duration of one day in a Welsh seaside town. An extraordinary piece of innovative writing in its time, this work has deservedly become a modern classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 April 1999
Format: Hardcover
Surely one of the strangest plays ever written, Under Milk Wood follows 24 hours in the mythical Welsh town of Llareggub. Primarily written for a radio audience, the play's best effects are presented in a non-visual manner. The audience/reader is cast into the role of Captain Cat who, like us, cannot see the town or it's people since he became blind - we rely on his comments and those from the omniscient "First Voice" - a narrator of sorts. It is not an immediately easy book to read, but your effort will be rewarded.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joolz on 5 May 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this edition is useful for its introduction and 'explanatory notes', I also find it extremely annoying in many respects, as opposed to the previous Daniel Jones editions. The editors have gone back to the original manuscripts and found some variants. They have therefore come up with AN edition, not THE DEFINITIVE edition, which would only exist if DT himself had supervised it, which he didn't. The 'textual notes' indicate that their changes were almost all trivial, mostly to do with commas, spellings and full stops (annoyingly described here as 'periods'), and complaints that Jones had no textual authorisation for his changes. But the current editors' main claim to originality is to have eliminated the "Second Voice", and given that text to the "First Voice" in order to make it more readable, while admitting that there is no textual authorisation for this. This is fair enough, though trivial, (and hardly respects readers' love of the recorded versions). But they have then proceeded to put all of the wonderful "First Voice" narrative into annoying italic, which makes it....hard to read. I daresay this was done to conform to modern playscript practice (in which case, why eliminate "Second Voice?), and if the object was to make it easier to read, they haven't. If the text was re-typeset, it might pass muster, but even then, why bother? I recommend keeping your Daniel Jones edition for reading, and use the explanatory notes in this for added interest if you need it. I hope Everyman keeps their edition in print!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Ryan on 25 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
I first read this over forty years ago and it is one of the few books I return to time and time again. The jokes are superb, the characters are fully developed and the place becomes real at once. In the best traditions of small town soap opera, the regional aspect is unimportant - you don't have to be Welsh or even like Wales to recognise the universal features of hypocrisy and comic self-delusion. For everyone who has ever tried to express their feelings for a place and its importance to their own human development, Under Milk Wood is a classic model of how to do it right. Even its unfinished quality adds to the sense of people in the midst of life having the need to record and preserve their formative experiences. Nosiness is elevated to a fine art form. The language is both colloquial and poetic but never dull and always economical. A reading of the text as opposed to a hearing of the radio play provides unlimited opportunity for your own personal memories to be added to the writer's own. I can state with confidence that not only is this Dylan Thomas's masterpiece, it is a piece of literature that will stand the test of time. All that is required to fully enjoy this piece is to relax, forget intellectual analysis and allow yourself to become another silent observer overhearing the secrets and scandals that make up everyday life.
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