Thursday, February 12, 2009
Do not go gentle into that good night, a villanelle composed in 1952, is considered to be among the finest works of Dylan Thomas. Thomas watched his father, formerly in the Army, grow weak and frail with old age. Thus, the speaker in his poem tries to convince his father to fight against imminent death. The speaker addresses his father using wise men, good men, wild men, or grave men as examples to illustrate the same message: that no matter how they have lived their lives or what they feel at the end they should die fighting. It is one of Thomas' most popular, most easily accessible poems, and implies that one should not die without fighting for one's life, or after life.
Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his sonorous voice with a subtle Welsh lilt became almost as famous as his works.
Dylan Thomas was born in the front upstairs bedroom at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, situated in the Uplands area of Swansea, Wales, on 27 October 1914. Uplands was, and still is, one of the more affluent areas of the city, which kept him away from the more industrial side of the city. His father, David John Thomas, was an English master who taught English literature at the local grammar school. His mother, Florence Hannah Thomas ( née Williams), was a seamstress born in Swansea. Dylan had a sister, Nancy, eight years older than him. Their father brought up both children to speak English only, even though both parents also knew Welsh.
Dylan Thomas died in New York on November 9 1953. The first rumours were of a brain hemorrhage, followed by reports that he had been mugged. Soon came the stories about alcohol, that he had drunk himself to death. Later, there were speculations about drugs and diabetes.