Letters from Edward Thomas - R. George ThomasLondon, New York & Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1968, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper, a decent copy otherwise.
Contains: Black & white plates; Appendix;
From the cover: “Edward Thomas’s letters to Gordon Bottomley offer a unique gloss on Thomas’s frequently misinterpreted writings and make a significant contribution to our understanding of his range and quality as a poet, essayist, and critic. They provide, without posturing and certainly without any thought for posterity, an intimate and candid journal of his working life and illuminate his attitude to the craft which, until he became a soldier in 1915, was his all-absorbing occupation. Printed in this volume are 182 of the 238 letters and postcards sent by Thomas to Bottomley between 1902 and April 1917 and given by Bottomley to the Library of University College, Cardiff, in June 1940. They record the progress of a well-balanced friendship between two writers of widely different interests and qualities, who met rarely throughout the fifteen years of their correspondence. This friendship was based on a common love of songs, the life of the countryside, fine books, and, above all, a deep interest in the name and nature of poetry.
Dr. George Thomas has followed these clues to Edward Thomas’s intensive critical output with considerable thoroughness. His researches, later assisted by scrapbook volumes of the poet’s press-cuttings (made available to him by the generosity of the late Helen Thomas), reveal the remarkable range of Thomas’s work as a critic — not least as an influential critic of modern poetry, both before and after the Georgian movement got under way, and long before Thomas had ever met Robert Frost. There is abundant evidence in the notes to these letters to refute the often-repeated assertion that Edward Thomas emerged suddenly as a poet after years of herculean literary hackwork.
Dr. Thomas, who has known these letters for over twenty years, was first attracted to them by the uniformity of tone they show with Thomas’s poetry. Like those written to Robert Frost, they confirm with remarkable fidelity Thomas’s early judgement of what the best letters should be: ‘For the letter writer, like the child, is for the time being a genius singularly moved to say what has hitherto been hidden from the world. And the order of literature which they most resemble is the essay’. Thomas’s special quality as an essayist has been neglected as much as his perceptive day-to-day interpretation of early twentieth-century poetry: this volume will help to redress that neglect.”