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Our Dylan Thomas Memorial Number, 1953

Adam International Review. A Literary Monthly in English and French

Edited by Miron Grindea


Our Dylan Thomas Memorial Number is a special periodical (No. 238) published in 1953, shortly after the sudden death of Dylan Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953). This rare periodical includes two previously unpublished chapters of Thomas’s picaresque comedy, Adventures in the Skin Trade. It also includes tributes and celebrations penned by the composer Igor Stravinsky, the painter Augustus John, and his many literary friends, such as Edith Sitwell, Mario Luzi, Pamela Hansford-Johnson, John Davenport, Glyn Jones, and Derek Patmore. Sitwell revealed in her telegram that Dylan Thomas “sometimes lightly prophesized to his close friends that he would meet an early death” (ii). Of the relationships, most interesting is the one between Thomas and Stravinsky. The two met once shortly before Thomas’s death to discuss the idea of collaborating on an opera, with “Dying of the Night” as the story behind the project (“Dying of the Night”, a phrase from the poem “Don’t Go Gentle into that Good Night” composed by Thomas to encourage his father to fight against death).


This periodic includes the short tribute Stravinsky composed on 5 January 1954. Another fascinating bond is his relationship with Augustus John, who painted two of his portraits, one of them purchased by the National Portrait Gallery. The memoriam composed by Ken Etheridge is also beautifully written:


I sing for one who was named the voice of the sea,

Dylan, Son of the Wave, the surging word-weaving,

Tempestuous all-gathering

Bard-bred daemon.


This copy is lightly tanned, with a touch of spotting to the edges, and the former owner’s name linked to the base of the contents leaf; otherwise, this is a collectible periodical for Dylan Thomas’s fans. Rare.


Our Dylan Thomas Memorial Number, 1953

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