- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (3 Feb. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140188886
- ISBN-13: 978-0140188882
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Feb 2000
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To begin at the beginning: it is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobble streets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloe black, slow, black, crow black fishing boat-bobbing sea. [...] And all the people of the lulled and dumbfounded town are sleeping now.
Subtitled "A Play for Voices", Dylan Thomas's best known work, Under Milk Wood, carries the double legacy of the author's extensive work for radio--a medium for which, like the very different Samuel Beckett, he had an almost intuitive grasp--and his skill and ability as a poet. A polyphonic evocation of a day in the life of an imaginary small Welsh seaside town, Thomas's play--"a green leaved sermon on the innocence of men"--visits in turn the inhabitants of Llareggub (read it backwards for the joke) while they sleep, when they wake and go about their daily activities, as the night falls. Balancing a rhythmic, densely poetic language with a nuanced ear for the musical cadences of speech, the play's gentle, affectionate charm and humour resonate to create a deeply textured portrait of a community responding almost mythically to the awakening of spring.
The introduction to this new edition details the book's slow genesis and reveals a more serious aspect of Thomas's creation--it was composed in part as a response to the terrible inheritance of World War II--in which the affirmative, redemptive cast of the play carries a moral dimension, an imaginative, lyrical empathy for the regenerative innocence of the average human being and their capacity for grace. Llareggub becomes a space in which eccentricity is tolerated, sin is forgiven and love is nurtured--or at least dreamt about and possible. Thomas has a democratic compassion for the small dramas of the everyday and a belief that what is commonplace unites us, all underscored by the transformative power of the language he bestows on each inhabitant. His characters--Captain Cat, Myfanwy Price, Organ Morgan, Willy Nilly the Postman, Polly Garter, Dai Bread, and others--generously animated and blessed by their author, have entered many people's affection and literary memory. In this light, it is easy to see why Under Milk Wood has remained one of the best-loved works of the 20th century and one of the great plays for radio. --Burhan Tufail
About the Author
Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea in 1914, and during the course of his brief life produced a significant amount of work in the form of poems, short stories, film-scripts, broadcast stories and talks. He died aged only 39 in 1953, and is remembered as one of the greatest Welsh poets of this century.
Top Customer Reviews
This was originally written to be heard, as a play for voices, i.e. radio. Reading it, however wonderful, and it is, is never going to replace the joy of listening to it, or seeing it in production. The play brings out the musical quality and the joyous rhythm of the words, and I would recommend using the book as a companion piece to the radio play, which is also available to buy.
I love the wonderful use of alliteration and repetition which makes this work seem so primal and ritualistic. I love the cheekiness of the characters; the blind captain, who reminds us that what we have to do is listen, the anally retentive housewife with two dead husbands who she still henpecks even after death and the drowned sailors like a Greek chorus pulling us back to the reality of ever present death roiling under all that effervescent life.
It is colloquial, but at the same time universally appealing. The lyricism of the language is so nice to read. And there's a bit of everything here, sadness, love, humour, marriage, poisoning, dreams. In its themes it is rather like James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, with the difference that Under Milk Wood is always a pleasure to read and never frustrates.
This play maybe sad in tone, but is never maudlin or cynical.
It concentrates on small town life, and small town squalor but is never political. Overall it's a very affectionate book.
Donald Houston as the narator was superb - his voice, lighter in colour than Burton's, made the verse sing.
Oh! to die of drink and agriculture.
For anyone who loves words and language this book is a must - you won't be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this play and this book is clearly presented. Nothing not to like. It arrived promptly.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Arrived day after ordered great!!! in really good condition thank youPublished 17 months ago by Mrs. K. King
Bought as a gift for someone studying at Uni - loved it and found it really useful to aid study and advance knowledge of Dylan Thomas.Published on 8 April 2014 by L A Markham