“And now gentlemen, like your manners, I must leave you.”

Posted 13-12-2014

With Dylan Thomas’ centenary year coming to an end, will we be waving farewell to Dylan? Will he return to a dusty shelf until the next anniversary? Last week it was announced that May 14th would from 2015 onwards be Dylan Day. A large number of books have been written, films scripted, works of art created and music composed to honour the great Welsh writer. A brand new exhibition has opened at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea; all to remind us to ‘love the words’. We certainly won’t be forgetting Dylan in a hurry… did you know that the largest collection of Dylan Thomas related material is here at the National Library of Wales? A great deal of it is still on display in our Dylan exhibition (it closes on December 20, so you’ve got a week left if you haven’t been to see it yet!). But even though the manuscripts and the letters, the drafts of stories and scripts, the doddles and the personalia will be going back into the collection, they’re still here for you to view either in the Library building, or online. To ensure that Dylan’s legacy lives on, we’ve digitised a vast amount of his archive, which can be viewed for free, anytime you wish on the Dylan website – go on, discover Dylan. Gwefan Dylan Website

Innocent as Strawberries

Posted 03-11-2014

Exciting news! As part of the Library’s Dylan Thomas Centenary celebrations, the Library – with financial assistance from DT100 and Scottish Power Foundation – have commissioned national children’s theatre company Arad Goch to perform a special theatrical production in the Library to Secondary Schools.

The performance will be based on a series of Dylan Thomas’ poems and short stories dealing with adolescence, drawing inspiration from ‘The Hunchback in the Park’ especially.  You can watch a short animated film of the poem created by the BBC here.

The Tormenting of the Hunchback © Jeff Philips

The Tormenting of the Hunchback © Jeff Philips

The performance will be held in the ‘Dylan’ exhibition in the Gregynog Gallery between 10th and 14th November.

The exhibition will remain open as usual to the public; although visitors are advised there may be some disruption in the gallery during this period, specifically audio/visual exhibits. The company will also be rehearsing in the space on Friday 7th November, however the gallery will still remain open during this time.

If you are planning a visit to the exhibition between these dates and would like further information regarding the timings of the performances (whether to avoid or catch a glimpse of!), please contact the Library.


Happy Birthday Dylan!

Posted 27-10-2014

Today we celebrate Dylan Thomas’ hundredth birthday.  I wonder what kind of gifts he would’ve received today… an iPad?  An Amazon gift voucher?  Or maybe a personalized beer glass?

On his twenty-third birthday, Dylan bought himself cigarettes, beer and a bright green shirt with the birthday money sent to him from his friend Keidrych Rhys.  It’s quite probable that he had a birthday pint or two to celebrate his thirty-fifth birthday, but it was quite a different gift that Dylan decided to give to himself on that occasion – the poem ‘Poem on His Birthday’.

Dylan Thomas, 'Poem on His Birthday', © David Higham Associates

Dylan Thomas, ‘Poem on His Birthday’, © David Higham Associates

© David Highams Associates

Dylan Thomas, Rhestr o eiriau ‘Poem on His Birthday’ Word List © David Higham Associates

So how about celebrating Dylan’s birthday today by visiting the exhibition here in the Library, where you can listen to the man himself reading the poem at the Poets’ Pub.  Or take a look at the website where you can read excerpts of the poem in Dylan’s own handwriting?

However you choose to celebrate, join us by using #DylanThomas


GLAMorous archivists

Posted 12-09-2014

In a few days the Library will be welcoming a GLAMorous set of archivists for a conference on ‘Collaborative Approaches in Literary Archives’.
GLAM is the Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts (glam-archives.org.uk) established in 2005 to bring together archivists, librarians, curators, writers and researchers with an interest in the collecting, preservation, use and promotion of literary archives and manuscripts in Britain and Ireland.  Their visit coincides with the Dylan Thomas exhibition at the National Library which can be seen until 20 December 2014.

Dylan Thomas Exhibition

Dylan Thomas Exhibition

The Dylan Thomas exhibition at the Library (with online version at http://dylan.llgc.org.uk/) is a prime example of the interest and activity that can be created around the papers of a poet and writer. Also the Library’s collaboration with the David Jones Society and the David Jones Centre at Aberystwyth University will be discussed.
The holdings of the Library of literary archives in Welsh and English is comprehensive, and includes the papers of Edward Thomas, David Jones, John Cowper Powys as well as Kate Roberts and Islwyn Ffowc Elis. Visit our web pages on Modern Literary Archives for more information:

'Sali Mali' Mary Vaughan Jones, 1969. (NLW XPB2124 J77). © Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion

‘Sali Mali’ Mary Vaughan Jones, 1969. © Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion

There are two other exhibitions currently at the Library which bring attention to our literary holdings. The first, ‘Words and Pictures Women in Welsh Children’s Literature’ includes original manuscripts, personal letters, reviews and artwork based on the literature of Winnie Parry, Mary Vaughan Jones (author of Sali Mali) and others. The second on ‘ Valleys Writers’ celebrates the life and literature of four Welsh valleys writers, Jack Jones, Rhys Davies, Glyn Jones and Idris Davies.

 

Nia Mai Daniel


“…innumerable exercise books full of poems…”

Posted 08-09-2014

After traveling to Wales in January and spending five months at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, Dylan’s Notebooks have returned to the Library, and to the ‘Dylan Comes Home’ exhibition.

This exhibition includes the four poetry Notebooks Dylan compiled during his teenage years between 1930 and 1934. He sold them to Buffalo University in the 1940s for a small sum of money, and this is their first trip back to Wales since that fateful day.

With the famous Notebooks are letters written between the poet and Pamela Hansford Johnson, which shed light on his writing process, as well as manuscripts for the poem ‘Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait’.

Dylan Thomas, Llyfr Nodiadau 1932 Notebook © David Highams Associates

Dylan Thomas, Llyfr Nodiadau 1932 Notebook
© David Higham Associates

Dylan Thomas, Hunan Bortread / Self Portrait © David Highams Associates

Dylan Thomas, Hunan Bortread / Self Portrait
© David Higham Associates

Dylan Thomas, Llyfr Nodiadau 1930 Notebook © David Highams Associates

Dylan Thomas, Llyfr Nodiadau 1930 Notebook
© David Higham Associates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Dylan’ exhibition in the Gregynog Gallery will also be having a revamp, with new items from the Library’s collection going on display. More letters that have never before been published will displayed, including one from Dylan to his mistress in America, Elizabeth Reitell. Manuscripts for some of Dylan’s famous poems will also be out on show in the Poets’ Pub, including ‘A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London’ and ‘Into Her Lying Down Head’.

If you’ve already visited the exhibition,do call by again to view Dylan’s Notebooks and the new material on show in the Gallery from 13th September.  We look forward to seeing you!


Wales’ Most Famous Shed

Posted 26-08-2014

‘..the heaven of my hut’

 

A replica of Dylan Thomas’ famous writing shed is at the Library from Thursday 28th August to Saturday 30th August 2014.

The shed – complete with curled pictures on the walls, boiled sweets on the desk and the poet’s jacket still hanging on the back of his chair – is on tour as part of Dylan Thomas 100, the year-long festival commemorating the centenary of the great Welsh writer’s birth.

The original shed sits above the Boathouse in the scenic seaside town of Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, where Thomas penned some of his most famous works including Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night and his play for voices Under Milk Wood. The replica will be situated at the front of the main entrance of the Library building overlooking the beautiful views of Cardigan Bay.

 In the shed there will be an opportunity to invent your own ‘Dylan-esque’ new word, which will then be added to the ‘Dictionary for Dylan’. Why not complete your visit by visiting the Library, home to the largest ever exhibition of the poet’s rare original items.

 

Geoff Charles, Sied Ysgrifennu, Dylan Thomas Writing Shed ©LLGC / NLW

Geoff Charles, Sied Ysgrifennu, Dylan Thomas Writing Shed ©LLGC / NLW

The shed was documented by photographer Geoff Charles in 1955. These images – which are in the Library’s collection – are believed to be the last pictures of the poet’s workspace as it was before his death.

The writing shed has free admission and will be open daily from 9am – 5pm from Thursday 28th August to Saturday 30th August 2014.

 

In partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council.


Dylan Online

Posted 05-08-2014

Today we launch an online exhibition of Dylan Thomas manuscripts, which mirrors the physical exhibition that can be seen at the Library until 20 December 2014.

© David Highams Associates

Dylan Thomas, Rhestr o eiriau ‘Poem on His Birthday’ Word List © David Highams Associates

 

Over 150 digital images can be viewed on the website, varying from Dylan’s passport, personal letters to friends and family and notes relating to some of his most famous poems, to drafts of stories, broadcasts and scripts, his hand-drawn map of Llareggub and a collection of his doodles.

The National Library houses the largest archive of material in the world relating to the ‘rock-and-roll’ poet, and although many of his manuscripts can currently be seen in the physical exhibition, even more can be seen in detail on the website. We hope to add further material over the next months and years as a legacy to Dylan Thomas’ centenary celebrations.

This fantastic digital archive is now available to everyone from all four corners of the earth free of charge, so why not take a look and browse this valuable collection relating to the Welsh literary icon.


Dylan with a difference

Posted 16-06-2014

On Saturday 28th June 2014, we are so excited to present to our visitors the largest and most comprehensive Dylan Thomas expo as part of the centenary celebrations. Although it has been years in the planning, things are really starting to take shape as we work on the set build and installation over the next couple of weeks!

Visitors will be able to see a variety of original items from the National Collection including photographs, archives, manuscripts, film and art  – some of which have never before been exhibited. The  items will feature in these 4 exhibitions:

  • Dylan: Occupying the prestigious Gregynog Gallery, this multimedia exhibition is a journey into Dylan’s world – a world of poetry, stories, plays and extensive musings – guided by Dylan’s words.
  • Dylan Comes Home: A special exhibition of manuscripts and photographs on loan from The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, New York.
  • Weak or Strong?  The Art of Dylan: Artwork by Dylan, of Dylan and inspired by Dylan.
  • Ach y fi, Ach y fi: A Play for Vices: Visual artists Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts interpret the dark and mischievous world of Dylan.

Our exhibition team have been working very hard on installing the exhibition which will include a few ‘surprise elements’ and innovative ways of bringing the Dylan Thomas collections to life. Had enough of Dylan Thomas already? Wait till you see what we have in store for you!  Here are a few tasters to whet your appetite…


Weak or Strong?

Posted 11-06-2014

On this day in 1936, The International Surrealist Exhibition was opened at the New Burlington Galleries in London. During the course of the Exhibition lectures on subjects such as ‘Art and the Unconscious’ and ‘Biology and Surrealism’ were delivered by celebrated surrealists that included Salvador Dalí, André Breton and Hugh Sykes Davies. Dalí’s lecture was delivered whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit, (to ‘plunge deeper into the subconscious’), who very nearly suffocated.

Dylan Thomas also attended the International Surrealist Exhibition, and whilst there decided to take part. He carried around a teacup of boiled string, asking visitors whether they liked it “weak or strong?”

Although Dylan declared in a letter to Richard Church in 1935, “I wasn’t, never had been, never would be, nor never could be for that matter, a surrealist”, it’s impossible to deny his interest in the Arts. He seemed to gravitate to artistic ‘types’, and was often dabbling with pencils, pastels and paintbrushes himself.

Dylan’s question at the Surrealist Exhibition has inspired an exhibition here at the Library, which will showcase artwork by Dylan, of Dylan, and inspired by Dylan from the National Collection. ‘Weak or Strong?’ : The Art of Dylan will be open to the public between 28 June and 20 December 2014, and feature as part of our Dylan centenary celebrations. The exhibition will feature works by artists such as Mervyn Levy, Alfred Janes, Ceri Richards, Peter Evershed and Dylan himself.


Weak or Strong?

Posted

On this day in 1936, The International Surrealist Exhibition was opened at the New Burlington Galleries in London. During the course of the Exhibition lectures on subjects such as ‘Art and the Unconscious’ and ‘Biology and Surrealism’ were delivered by celebrated surrealists that included Salvador Dalí, André Breton and Hugh Sykes Davies. Dalí’s lecture was delivered whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit, (to ‘plunge deeper into the subconscious’), who very nearly suffocated.

Dylan Thomas also attended the International Surrealist Exhibition, and whilst there decided to take part. He carried around a teacup of boiled string, asking visitors whether they liked it “weak or strong?”

Although Dylan declared in a letter to Richard Church in 1935, “I wasn’t, never had been, never would be, nor never could be for that matter, a surrealist”, it’s impossible to deny his interest in the Arts. He seemed to gravitate to artistic ‘types’, and was often dabbling with pencils, pastels and paintbrushes himself.

Dylan’s question at the Surrealist Exhibition has inspired an exhibition here at the Library, which will showcase artwork by Dylan, of Dylan, and inspired by Dylan from the National Collection. ‘Weak or Strong?’ : The Art of Dylan will be open to the public between 28 June and 20 December 2014, and feature as part of our Dylan centenary celebrations. The exhibition will feature works by artists such as Mervyn Levy, Alfred Janes, Ceri Richards, Peter Evershed and Dylan himself.

 

'Dylan Thomas, San Remo N.Y.', © Peter Evershed

‘Dylan Thomas, San Remo N.Y.’, © Peter Evershed

Darlun gan Dylan Thomas / Doodle by Dylan Thomas © David Higham Associates

Darlun gan Dylan Thomas / Doodle by Dylan Thomas © David Higham Associates

'Dylan at Laugharne', Mervyn Levy © Ystâd Mervyn Levy / The Estate of Mervyn Levy

‘Dylan at Laugharne’, Mervyn Levy © Ystâd Mervyn Levy / The Estate of Mervyn Levy