Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog
Fiction by Dylan Thomas
The “Young Dog” of the title is of course Thomas himself, and this volume of autobiographical stories by the great modern poet, who died at 39 while on his third lecture tour in the United States, shows his waggish humor at its best, his exuberance and verbal magic in spectacular display. It also shows him a spinner of tales and a creator of memorable characters. There is the grandfather who marches off in his best clothes to be buried in the next town, the sardonic “senior reporter” on a provincial newspaper, servant girls who know how to deal triumphantly with a fast-talking dandy, a twenty-year-old farmer preaching wildly to boys in a deserted barn, a group of respectable worthies who play at literature behind closed blinds, and always the observant and unfazed young Thomas. Few writers have evoked as successfully the mysteries and adventures of boyhood, of young love with its shattered dreams, or of death haunting two lads at play: none has done it in as fresh and telling phrases, with an elation as natural and contagious.