Books: Worm Beneath the Nail

THE NOTEBOOKS OF DYLAN THOMAS, edited by Ralph Maud. 364 pages. New Directions. $8.50.

For a man who devoted so much of his life to drinking up his talent, Dylan Thomas had a remarkably methodical approach to that talent when he was putting it to work. In his tight, clear script he filled notebook after notebook with the history of his poems—when the idea was first set down, how long he sat on it, how he cleaned up the various versions, what he chose to publish and what he left out. Such matters may seem too arcane for all except literary note-pickers,...

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