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In this new account of the extraordinary life and enduring work of Dylan Thomas-author of Under Milkwood, A Child's Christmas in Wales, Adventures in the Skin Trade, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, and numerous poems and stories-Andrew Lycett peels back the layers of story that have accumulated around this extraordinarily talented writer, one of the most celebrated and contradictory literary figures of the twentieth century. When Dylan Thomas died in New York in 1953, he was only thirty-nine years old and the myths soon took hold. He became the Keats and the Byron of his generation-the romantic poet who died too young, his potential unfulfilled. Making masterful use of original material from archives and personal papers, Lycett describes the development of the young poet and brings invaluable new insights to Thomas's early writing and the themes that continued to appear in all he wrote. This major new work unearths fascinating details about the poet's many affairs and about his tempestuous marriage to his passionate Irish wife, Caitlin. Lycett uses as his overwhelming motif the deeply ambivalent forces in Thomas's life-"I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me"-that allowed him to be a wild boy in public and a private poet of deep sensitivity.
In this riveting account of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and contradictory figures, now available again to celebrate Thomas's 100th birthday, acclaimed biographer Andrew Lycett peels back the layers of story that have accumulated around Dylan Thomas. When he died in New York in 1953, Thomas was only thirty-nine years old, and the myths soon took hold: he became the Keats and the Byron of his generation--the romantic poet who died too young, his potential unfulfilled. Making masterful use of original material from archives and personal papers, Lycett describes the development of the young poet, brings invaluable new insights to Thomas's youthful poetry and the themes that continued to appear in his work.
Dylan Thomas was a romantic and controversial figure; a poet who lived to excess and died young. An inventive genius with a gift for both lyrical phrases and impish humour, he also wrote for films and radio, and was renowned for his stage performances. He became the first literary star in the age of popular culture - a favourite of both T.S. Eliot and John Lennon. As his status as a poet and entertainer increased, so did his alcoholic binges and his sexual promiscuity, threatening to destroy his marriage to his fiery Irish wife Caitlin. As this extraordinary biography reveals, he was a man of many contradictions. But out of his tempestuous life, he produced some of the most dramatic and enduring poetry in the English language.
In this riveting account of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and contradictory figures, now available again to celebrate Thomas's 100th birthday, acclaimed biographer Andrew Lycett peels back the layers of story that have accumulated around Dylan Thomas. When he died in New York in 1953, Thomas was only thirty-nine years old, and the myths soon took hold: he became the Keats and the Byron of his generation--the romantic poet who died too young, his potential unfulfilled. Making masterful use of original material from archives and personal papers, Lycett describes the development of the young poet, brings invaluable new insights to Thomas's youthful poetry and the themes that continued to appear in his work, and unearth fascinating details about the poet's many affairs and his tempestuous marriage to his passionate Irish wife, Caitlin. The result is a poignant yet stirring portrait of the chaos of Thomas's personal life and a welcome re-evaluation of the lyricism and experimentalism of his poetry, plays, and short stories.
Ian Fleming's life was just as dramatic as that of his fictional creation, James Bond. Andrew Lycett's direct access to Fleming's family, friends and contemporaries has enabled him to reveal the truth behind the complicated facade of this enigmatic and remarkable man. With an extraordinary cast of characters, this is biography at is best - part history, part gossip and part an informed reassessment of one of this century's most celebrated yet mysterious personalities.
Though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's name is recognized the world over, for decades the man himself has been overshadowed by his better understood creation, Sherlock Holmes, who has become one of literature's most enduring characters. Based on thousands of previously unavailable documents, Andrew Lycett, author of the critically acclaimed biography Dylan Thomas, offers the first definitive biography of the baffling Conan Doyle, finally making sense of a long-standing mystery: how the scientifically minded creator of the world's most rational detective himself succumbed to an avid belief in spiritualism, including communication with the dead. Conan Doyle was a man of many contradictions. Always romantic, energetic, idealistic and upstanding, he could also be selfish and fool-hardy. Lycett assembles the many threads of Conan Doyle's life, including the lasting impact of his domineering mother and his wayward, alcoholic father; his affair with a younger woman while his wife lay dying; and his nearly fanatical pursuit of scientific data to prove and explain various supernatural phenomena. Lycett reveals the evolution of Conan Doyle's nature and ideas against the backdrop of his intense personal life, wider society and the intellectual ferment of his age. In response to the dramatic scientific and social transformations at the turn of the century, he rejected traditional religious faith in favor of psychics and séances -- and in this way he embodied all of his late-Victorian, early-Edwardian era's ambivalence about the advance of science and the decline of religion. The first biographer to gain access to Conan Doyle's newly released personal archive -- which includes correspondence, diaries, original manuscripts and more -- Lycett combines assiduous research with penetrating insight to offer the most comprehensive, lucid and sympathetic portrait yet of Conan Doyle's personal journey from student to doctor, from world-famous author to ardent spiritualist.
Paragon of English virtues or racist imperialist? Andrew Lycett (acclaimed biographer of Ian Fleming) has returned to primary sources to tell the intricate story of a misunderstood genius who became Britain's most famous and highest earning author. Among the many new sources, Lycett has discovered previously unpublished letters that illuminate Kipling's crucial years in India, his first girlfriend (the model for Mrs Hauksbee of Plain Tales from the Hills), his parents' decision to send him back to England to boarding school; and in his adult life his use of opium, his frustrating times in London and the brief peace he found in America before the devastating loss of both his young daughter and, in the First World War, his son. Lycett also uncovers the extraordinary story of Kipling's great love for Flo Garrard, daughter of the crown jeweller, and unravels the complicated yet enthralling saga of the American family the Balestiers, and of Carrie Balestier who became Kipling's wife. This biography is full of new material on Kipling's financial dealings with Lord Beaverbrook, his friendships with T.E. Lawrence, the painter Edward Burne-Jones and the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (who was his cousin).
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