By Christopher Morgan

ISBN-10: 0719062489

ISBN-13: 9780719062483

ISBN-10: 1417583495

ISBN-13: 9781417583492

This is often the 1st publication to regard the full works of R. S. Thomas and may turn out to be an fundamental consultant and better half to the total poems. Morgan not just recontextualizes and reinterprets the poet's significant issues of self, nature, and the hunt for deity; he breaks new floor with a penetrating research of Thomas's lengthy preoccupation with the philosophical and functional implications of technology and know-how. The booklet is split into 3 components, each one of which translates the advance of an enormous topic over Thomas's twenty-seven volumes, probing those specific subject matters and specific poems, with a meticulous perception. The e-book additionally treats Thomas's paintings as a posh and interrelated complete, as a physique of labor that contains a unmarried creative success, and assesses that fulfillment in the context of an array of significant literary figures from Montaigne to Seamus Heaney and Wallace Stevens.

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Extra info for R.S. Thomas: Identity, Environment, Deity

Example text

I think the process is a kind of somnambulist encounter between masculine will and intelligence and feminine clusters of image and emotion. (1980: 34) This dichotomy is vital to an understanding of R. S. Thomas’s poetry as autobiography. What Heaney refers to as the active masculine will and the passive feminine image are characteristics which recur in Thomas’s poetry. And yet Thomas’s poems are full of images of waiting as well. A reference to Keats can help here. In his famous ‘Negative Capability’ letter to his brothers in December 1817 Keats claims that the ‘Man of Achievement’ is able to suffer in partial knowledge, able to accept that he cannot, in this life, know himself fully, but has learned contentment with partial knowledge, with listening and waiting for what is yielded up from outside of his conscious power (1954: 53).

Thomas is suggesting here an interior growth of a living creature whose survival is by no means assured, precarious as a cupped dream, vulnerable to the chance ciphers which divert the poet’s intent. But something of equal importance here is that we do not perceive the poet so much as the maker, the word-smith of the poem, as the feminine vessel, the womb within which the poem is nurtured to maturity. Thomas portrays at once a strange remove as well as a deep intimacy between the poet and the poem.

Thomas, the first a distinction between craft and technique, the second a distinction between will and waiting, and the note an effort to locate the project of the self in its significantly wider context. In ‘Feeling into Words’ (1974) Heaney offers a subtle insight into the nature of the poetic project of the self by distinguishing between definitions of craft and technique. He defines craft as what you can learn from other verse. Craft is the skill of making. It wins competitions in the Irish Times or the New Statesman.

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R.S. Thomas: Identity, Environment, Deity by Christopher Morgan

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