Books: The Poet as Martyr

CLEM ANDERSON (627 pp.)—R. V. Cassill—Simon & Schusfer ($5.95).

It was probably inevitable that Dylan Thomas, like Scott Fitzgerald, would sooner or later become a mark for the novelist, and equally inevitable that the fiction of his life would be beggared by the facts. Clem Anderson is a thinly disguised Midwestern incarnation of Thomas, and as the novel opens, he is 37, newly successful, about to marry a blonde Hollywood starlet, and already suffering the physical penalties of literary lionization—"the bloaty softness of his face, the bat's-flesh bags under his eyes." From that high or low point, Novelist Cassill traces the fever...

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