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Dylan Thomas - The Caedmon Collection - Audio book NEW CD

Beginning in February 1952, Dylan Thomas made a series of memorable and historic recordings for a new record label called Caedmon. In fact, Dylan Thomas was the first to record for this new label, started by two 22-year-old women, Marianne Roney and Barbara Cohen. Little did they know that in addition to capturing a part of history they also launched an industry of spoken-word recording.

This collection not only contains the incredible Caedmon recording sessions, but also recordings from the BBC, CBC, and other archival material Caedmon originally published in the 1950s and 1960s.

Highlights include: "A Child's Christmas in Wales" and "Five Poems"; "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night", his prose: Adventures in the Skin Trade and Quite Early One Morning, and his final work - Under Milk Wood, a play. Also included is the famous recording of the first ever full stage performance of 'Under Milk Wood' starring Dylan himself as the narrator.

With stunning original album cover art, and an introduction read by former poet laureate Billy Collins, this unique collection includes not only Dylan Thomas reading his finest works, but also rare recordings of Thomas reading his favorite writers, including W.H. Auden and William Shakespeare.

About Dylan Thomas:

Dylan Thomas was born at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, in Swansea, Wales. His father, David, who taught English Literature at the local Grammar School, brought his son up to speak English; his mother, Florence, spoke Welsh. His middle name, Marlais, came from the bardic name of his uncle, the Unitarian minister Gwilym Marles (whose given name was William Thomas). He had one sister, Nancy, eight years his senior.

His formal education began at seven, at Mrs. Hole's Dame School. He later attended the boys-only Swansea Grammar School in the Mount Pleasant district of the city. It was in this school's magazine that Thomas saw his first poem published. He left school at 16 to become a reporter for 18 months.

His childhood was spent largely in Swansea, with regular summer trips to visit his mother's family on their Carmarthen farm. These rural sojourns, and the contrast with the town life of Swansea, provided inspiration for much of his work, notably many short stories, radio essays and the poem Fern Hill. He was considered too frail to fight in World War II, so he served the war effort by writing scripts for government propaganda.

Early work

Thomas wrote half his poems and many short stories when he lived at the family home. And death shall have no dominion is one of the best known works written at this address. His highly acclaimed first poetry volume, 18 Poems, was published on December 18, 1934. The publication of Deaths and Entrances in 1946 was a major turning point in his career. Thomas was well-known for being a versatile and dynamic speaker, best known for his poetry readings.[5] His powerful voice would captivate American audiences during his speaking tours of the early 1950s. He made over 200 broadcasts for the BBC. Often considered his greatest single work is Under Milk Wood, a radio play featuring the characters of Llareggub, a fictional Welsh fishing village. Richard Burton starred in the first broadcast; he was joined by Elizabeth Taylor in a subsequent film.

Marriage and children

Dylan Thomas met his wife, Caitlin Macnamara, in a Fitzrovia pub in the Spring of 1936. A drunken Thomas proposed marriage on the spot, and the two began a courtship.

On July 11, 1937, Thomas married MacNamara at Penzance register office. They had three children. The marriage was tempestuous, with rumours of affairs on both sides; Caitlin had an affair with Augustus John before, and quite possibly after, she married Thomas. It is widely suspected that Thomas' tumultuous personal life was a direct result of his frequent and heavy drinking. Their first child was born on January 30, 1939, a boy whom they named Llewelyn Edouard (died in 2000). He was followed on March 3, 1943 by a daughter, Aeronwy. A second son, Colm Garan Hart, was born on July 24, 1949.

Alcoholism and death

Thomas liked to boast about his drinking, saying "An alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do." During an incident on November 3, 1953, Thomas returned to the Chelsea Hotel in New York and exclaimed, "I've had 18 straight whiskies; I think this is a record."

During a speaking tour at New York, Thomas became sexually involved with Katinka Loeser, the wife of writer Peter De Vries. De Vries caught the two together and challenged Thomas to a drinking contest. De Vries was a much bigger man, and Thomas lost. He collapsed on November 9, 1953 at the White Horse Tavern, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan after drinking heavily; he later died at St Vincent's Hospital. The primary cause of his death is recorded as pneumonia, with pressure on the brain and a fatty liver given as contributing factors. His last words, according to Jack Heliker, were: "After 39 years, this is all I've done." Following his death, his body was brought back to Wales for burial in the village churchyard at Laugharne. His wife died in 1994, and was buried alongside him

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