Dylan Thomas

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Dylan Thomas was born in October 1914 in Uplands, Swansea, where he grew up. His father, David John Thomas, had taken his degree at University College Aberystwyth and obtained a First in English, which he taught at Swansea Grammar School. His pupils found him quick tempered and intimidating, but he had a beautiful, sonorous voice for reading aloud, which his son inherited.

Thomas' mother, Florence Hannah Williams, had been a seamstress before her marriage. Welsh was her first tongue, but her husband - although he did speak Welsh - preferred English. He was cynical about religion, whilst she was traditional in her piety.

The name "Dylan" comes from a character in the Welsh Medieval Romance The Mabinogian. In Welsh it would be pronounced "Dullun", which Mrs Thomas was unhappy about, preferring the English pronunciation "Dillan".

Thomas' childhood summers were spent at the Carmarthenshire dairy farm of his mother's sister, Ann Jones, and her husband, Jim. These holidays inspired the poem Fern Hill.

Before the age of 11, he was writing poetry. He was also telling lies and pinching money from his mother's purse. In her eyes he could do no wrong, which was particularly irritating for his sister, Nancy.

Thomas attended Swansea Grammar School from 1925-1931. When he started at the school he was small and pretty, so the bigger boys bullied him until they discovered he was aggressive and pugnacious and knew a prodigious number of swear-words.
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