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on 5 May 2011
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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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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on 25 January 2004
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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on 22 October 1997
On November 7th, Dylan Thomas collapsed in his hotel room. On the 9th, he died. This was only a few days after the final performance of "Under Milk Wood", a special play with no acting but voices, the sort of work Thomas believed would replace the poetic impulse he feared had dried up. Although believed by many to be unfinished, "Under Milk Wood" seems perfect as it is. A journey through the events of a single day in a small town, "Under Milk Wood" is a must for Dylan Thomas fans, but also would be appreciated by fans of Garrison Keillor and other radio-storytellers. The written text cannot compare with the lively, laughter-ridden performance. Listen to the real thing, and you will, as Dylan Thomas instructed his actors, "love the words."
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Dylan Thomas completed this play in 1953, a few days before his death. For this reason, some critics contend the play is "incomplete," an issue that will never be resolved. It is subtitled a "Play for Voices"; thus, it is a "reading," without accompanying action from the actors. Like Joyce's Ulysses (Classics) (Wordsworth Classics), the entire play covers only one day. Ulysses is set in Ireland; Thomas's play is set in a coastal fishing village in Wales, named Llareggub, which is literally located below another village called Milkwood, hence the title. Thanks to another reviewer, I learned that Llareggub spelled backwards is "Bugg*r All."

The play starts with the characters still asleep or just awaking. Along with Polly Garter, Captain Cat is one of the more memorable characters. He is dreaming of his numerous companions that were lost at sea. Much of the play relates to the male-female interactions (of which there are plenty!) in this small village. Some unhappy husbands and wives, naturally; several of whom seek solace outside the strict bounds of wedlock. No surprise there. Polly dreams of the one man who has ever truly satisfied her, Willy Nilly. There is the Rev. Eli Jenkins who makes pronouncements, and is routinely ignored. The "Sailors Arms" is the village pub (and essential community center). The clock is broken at half past eleven, which is the official opening time; thus, the pub is always open.

Thomas is wonderfully lyrical; so many of the words are selected simply for their euphony, and how well they elide into the next. And there is the rub. Can one appreciate the full artistic merit simply by reading it? I think not. You really do have to HEAR it also. There is a beautiful movie production of this play, with impressive scenery from the green Welsh countryside, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor Under Milk Wood [DVD] that I would highly recommend. Oddly, to me, the only other person I know who has read and watched this production thought the movie was terrible. Of course, he liked The Deer Hunter [Blu-ray], so I guess it might simply be a case of different strokes...

The book alone, through no particular fault than it is not the intended medium, would rate 4-stars. In conjunction with, or as a prelude to the movie or a live performance, it deserves the full 5-stars.
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on 5 March 2016
After many years of thinking I wouldnt like it I then heard it read by Richard Burton. I then had to read it for myself. What an incredible piece of work. I keep going back to it.
masterpiece is too easily used these days this is one and was one when the term really meant something
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on 13 February 2016
I've always loved "Under Milk Wood" ever since hearing it way back in the fifties. I decided to re-read it recently and did a search for a nice copy and was happily surprised to find that Peter Blake had illustrated the play for the centenary of Dylan Thomas's birth in 2013. It was published in three versions; a rare binding version (10 copies + 1 for the artist) and a DeLuxe version (including a print) or a paperback version in a limited first edition of 2,500 copies. I love Peter Blake's art, so deciding to buy this version was easy. It is a great way to get the play and Blake's drawings and paintings are wonderful. So, get your copy!
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on 26 December 2013
I purchased the paperback version of this book as a Christmas present. It is a beautiful book packed with images from Sir Peter Blake and his 25 year homage to Dylan Thomas' classic poem/play Under Milk Wood. The images are very different from sketches to paintings, collages etc. This is an ideal compliment to the Richard Burton Under Milk Wood which is the classic audio version of the play.
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This being the first play I read in my whole life,it tends to be kind of sentimental, and without wanting to sound too patriotic, find everything of Dylan's a stroke of genius. The whole Play captures the atmosphere of a typical welsh town perfectly. Dylan is an icon who has inspired so many great artists, such as; Bob dylan(took his stage name from him), Mick jagger and David Bowie. Mr.Thomas I salute you!!!!
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on 22 July 2011
Good and efficient delivery service.
This play is very funny and great to perform.
Print slightly on small side for use as a script, compared to other editions.
Binding has survived intense 4 week usage.
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