Dylan’s Life – The 1940s


March / April: Move back to Sea View, Laugharne

April 4: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, Dylan’s semi-autobiographical collection of short stories, published by J M Dent & Sons Ltd

“A story I had made in the warm, safe island of my bed, with sleepy midnight Swansea flowing and rolling round outside the house, came blowing down to me then with a noise on the cobbles.”
The Peaches

May: Dylan fails Army medical at Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire

May: Dylan and Caitlin move from Sea View to stay with his parents in Bishopston, returning after friends have paid their debts in Laugharne

June / August: Stay with John Davenport at The Maltings, Marshfield, in a house-party of musicians and artists

July: Dylan and Caitlin leave Laugharne for London

September: Dylan begins working for Strand Films, and his work for Strand continued through the war

September 24: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog published in the United States

“Young Mr Thomas was … without employment … he was penniless, and hoped, in a vague way, to live on women.”
Where Tawe Flows

December / April: Dylan and Caitlin stay at Bishopston


May / July: Dylan and Caitlin stay at Castle House in Laugharne with Frances Hughes

August: Dylan and Caitlin move back to London, leaving Llewelyn with her family at Ringwood


July: Fortune Press publish second edition of 18 Poems

“There shall be corals in your beds,
There shall be serpents in your tides,
Till all our sea-faiths die”
Where once the waters of your face

Dylan and Caitlin rent one-room studio at Wentworth Studios, Manresa Road, London SW3, which remains their London base for several years

During 1942-44, Caitlin stays periodically at Laugharne and at Talsarn, Cardiganshire, while Dylan divides his time between there and London


Dylan’s continuous work as a broadcaster begins

February: New Poems published in the United States by New Directions

March 3: Aeronwy Bryn Thomas born in London

“Sleep, good, for ever, slow and deep, spelled rare and wise,
My girl ranging the night in the rose and shire
Of the hobnail tales” (‘In Country Sleep’)


April / June: Dylan and Caitlin stay at Far End, Old Bosham, to avoid the London air raids, and then move to Hedgerley Dean, near Beaconsfield, to stay with Donald Taylor. Taylor employed Dylan at the BBC as a scriptwriter until 1945

July / August: Stay with Dylan’s parents, who have now moved to Blaen Cwm, Llangain

September: Move to Majoda, New Quay, Ceredigion, where Dylan writes several major poems and the radio broadcast ‘Quite Early One Morning’, in which he experimented with the form, characters and ideas that he developed in Under Milk Wood.

October 2: Dylan fails to attend Vernon Watkins’ wedding, where he was supposed to be best man


August / September: Stay at Blaen Cwm

December / March 1947: Dylan and Caitlin spend Christmas with the historian AJP Taylor and his wife Margaret at Holywell Ford, Oxford, and then move into their summerhouse at the bottom of the garden, much to AJP Taylor’s disgust. Margaret was one of Dylan’s most important patrons.

Between December 1945 and May 1949 Dylan either wrote, narrated or took part in over a hundred BBC radio programmes.

“Deep with the first dead lies London’s daughter
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother”
A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London


February 7: Deaths and Entrances published by J M Dent & Sons Ltd

August: Dylan and Caitlin spend four days at Puck Fair at Killorglin, Co. Kerry, with their friends Bill and Helen McAlpine

Late August: Stay at Blaen Cwm

November 8: Selected Writings of Dylan Thomas published in the United States by New Directions


March 26: Society of Authors awards Dylan a £150 Travelling Scholarship with a recommendation that he should visit Italy

April / August: Dylan and Caitlin and her sister Brigid take the family to stay first at Rapallo, then Florence and Elba. In Florence, Dylan writes ‘In Country Sleep’

“Lie in grace. Sleep spelled at rest in the lowly house
In the squirrel nimble grove, under linen and thatch
And star:”
In Country Sleep

June 15: BBC broadcasts his programme on the destruction of the Swansea of his youth, ‘Return Journey’:

“I … walked down High Street, past the flat white wastes where all the shops had been …. shops bombed and vanished.”

June: Margaret Taylor buys the Manor House at South Leigh, Oxfordshire, for the Thomas family

September: Dylan and Caitlin move to South Leigh on returning from Elba


March / April: Dylan visits his parents at Blaen Cwm and goes to Laugharne, hoping to find somewhere there for his family to live

April: DJ and Florence Thomas arrive in South Leigh

Summer: Dylan begins work on his three film scripts for Gainsborough Films – Me and My Bike, Rebecca’s Daughters, and The Beach at Falesa – but the company goes into liquidation before any of the films are made

October: Margaret Taylor visits Laugharne to see if she can find a house there for the Thomas family; she tries to lease Castle House and then later buys the Boat House. Dylan writes to thank her: “you have given me a life … and now I am going to live it.”


March: Guild Books publish paperback edition of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog

“Grandpa said: ‘I am going to Llangadock to be buried.’ Mr Price complained: ‘But you aren’t dead yet, Dai Thomas.'”
A Visit to Grandpa’s

March 4: Dylan visits Prague for a few days as a guest of the Czechoslovak Writer’s Union

May: Dylan and family move to the Boat House in Laugharne; his parents move to Pelican, a house opposite Brown’s Hotel. In the ‘Prologue’ to his Collected Poems, Dylan calls the Boat House “My seashaken house / On a breakneck of rocks”.

July 24: Colm Garan Hart Thomas born

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