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Chameleon Poet: R.S. Thomas and the Literary Tradition (Hardback)
  • Chameleon Poet: R.S. Thomas and the Literary Tradition (Hardback)
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Chameleon Poet: R.S. Thomas and the Literary Tradition (Hardback)

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£66.00
Hardback 308 Pages / Published: 21/11/2013
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For many decades, R.S. Thomas has been portrayed according to terms that he himself helped to define. Drawing on the poet's status as a passionate defender of the Welsh nation, scholars have followed his lead in emphasising the Welsh credentials and dimensions of his work, tacitly affirming his chosen cultural identity. Chameleon Poet, however, goes against the grain of previous studies by revealing Thomas as profoundly indebted to the English literary canon. Ultimately, Thomas emerges as a classic example of what Keats famously described as the 'chameleon poet', and through this prism S.J. Perry illuminates the various dimensions of his relationship with the literary tradition. Through detailed consideration of Thomas's life and writing and extensive archival research into his reading and correspondence, Perry examines Thomas's early immersion in the work of the English Romantics, through to his discovery of Irish and Scottish writing, his response to key poetic figures, such as Herbert, Tennyson, Edward Thomas and T.S. Eliot, his involvement with the influential journal Critical Quarterly, which inspired a creative dialogue with esteemed contemporaries like Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin, and his late engagement with the traditions of the elegy as conceived within Thomas Hardy's Poems of 1912-13. As well as suggesting new readings and associations, this groundbreaking exposition of R.S. Thomas's art forms part of a wider investigation into the nature of the British poetic tradition and archipelagic identity, showing how Thomas's Welshness was in fact a hybrid construct, emerging from his imaginative interaction with the literary cultures of England, Scotland and Ireland as much as those of his homeland.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199687336
Number of pages: 308
Weight: 516 g
Dimensions: 221 x 144 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
R. S. Thomass status as the most importantif not the most popularWelsh poet writing in English during the twentieth century is well-established, but both the man and his poetry remain enigmatic, a bundle of conflicts and contradictions... what students and scholars of Thomass poetry will find most valuable in Chameleon Poet is Perrys sympathetic attentiveness to the language and moods of the poems themselves, which frequently issues in brilliantly perceptive and illuminating new readings. * Neal Alexander (Aberystwyth University), The Journal *
Chameleon Poet displays profound and detailed knowledge of Thomas's entire oeuvre. What students and scholars of Thomas's poetry will find most valuable [...] is Perry's sympathetic attentiveness to the language and moods of the poems themselves, which frequently issues in brilliantly perceptive and illuminating new readings. * Neal Alexander, English Studies *
Perry's [...] meticulously researched and persuasively argued assessment of influences from outside Wales has paid off richly. [He] uses Keats's notion of the "chameleon poet" as the motor for investigation of diverse aspects of Thomas's aesthetic, weaving back and forth through the changing complexion of the poet's methods and preoccupations. This creates a rich tapestry which pays tribute to, and strengthens, the poet's already acknowledged authority as a major poetic voice. * Clare Morgan, The Times Literary Supplement *
Perry brings his wide reading and alert textual memory to bear throughout on Thomas's work and its allusive hinterlands, while quoting brilliantly from the poetry and redescribing the particularities of Thomas's style eloquently and convincingly. * Matthew Sperling, Year's Work in English Studies *
This book is required reading for anyone seriously interested in twentieth century poetry. * Neil Miles, Year's Work in English Studies *
This is a really welcome addition to the burgeoning critical literature on Thomas which is gradually taking him out of both a narrowly theological and a narrowly national frame of discussion; a work of much sophistication and originality. * Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge *

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