The Dylan Thomas Centenary Conference 1914 - 2014 will be held at Swansea University, 3-5 September 2014.

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Dylan Unchained

The Dylan Thomas Centenary Conference
1914 - 2014

We call on an international array of scholars and poets to witness the white horses of Swansea Bay in September 2014 at a conference that engages anew with the poet who 'sang in [my] chains like the sea’.

‘Unchaining’ Dylan might involve looking at his work from psychoanalytic, postcolonial, feminist and deconstructionist perspectives; it might involve reclaiming the regional specificity of his work from those who locate him as an international modernist; it could, alternatively, involve seeking to tear him away from nationalist attempts at Welsh or British canon formation in order to underline the transnational and hybrid character of his work; it might seek to place him amongst his contemporaries, or his literal or metaphorical ancestors; it might look at his influences across literary traditions and languages; it might involve seeing his review of Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood as key moment in the re-gendering of modernism, or his review of Amos Tutuola’s Palm-Wine Drinkard as a key moment in the global impact of Anglophone African literatures; it might involve close and detailed readings of his work and analyses of his poetic practice; or it might draw on more distanced forms of reading which address locations of publication, sales, readership and dissemination; it might think of Thomas as late Romantic, or as early Beat; it might consider Thomas’s voice in the age of mechanical reproduction, or his texts in the age of digital humanities. Thomas is a figure who transcends the ‘now’ to which he incessantly returned in his work.

The conference is not designed to offer ‘coverage’ of a particular area or moment in Thomas’s life or reception, not does it seek a particular ‘grand narrative’ on the development of the poet. Contributors should consider themselves unchained and free to address what seems to them the most interesting themes, debates and modes of expression in Dylan Thomas’s works and in Dylan Thomas criticism.

Possible topics for paper or panel proposals might include, but are no means limited to:

·        Poetics and language

·        Theories of the body / gender studies

·        Radio, film and the mass media

·        Popular culture

·        Modernism in the 1930s

·        Visual art

·        Translation

·        Impact in the USA/ Europe / internationally

·        WWII, elegy and the ‘Blitz sublime’

·        The journal, Wales, and other friends (Glyn Jones, Lynette Roberts, Vernon Watkins, Keidrych Rhys)

·        Representing childhood and nostalgia

·        The gothic-grotesque and surrealism

·        The ‘First Flowering’ and Anglo-Welsh poetry

·        The short story

·        Regionalism and nationalism

·        Thomas and music (jazz, classical etc)

·        Trauma

·        Legacy and present influence (Plath, Hughes, W. S. Graham, etc.)

Performances, Excursions, Launches:

Events organised by or associated with the conference include:

  • Launch of a new centenary edition of the Collected Poems edited by Professor John Goodby
  • The first performance, with a star cast, of Chelsea Dreaming, the acclaimed radio play by David Britton
  • Poetry readings, screenings, book launches
  • A Literary Tour in partnership with Literature Wales (discount for delegates)
  • Exhibition in partnership with the Dylan Thomas Centre

Conference events and trips will be open to all, please book early to avoid disappointment.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Leo Mellor (University of Cambridge)

Professor Carol Watts (Birkbeck, University of London)

Professor John Wilkinson (University of Chicago) 

Call for Papers:

Please send abstracts for 20 minute papers (max 300 words), and a short biography, to . Proposals for panels of three are also welcome.  The deadline for abstracts is 14 February 2014.  Please contact the conference organiser, Kirsti Bohata, at the above address if you have any queries.

This conference is organised by CREW, the Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales in association with the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH).  For more information on CREW please email