Dylan Thomas’s The Map of Love: The Poetic Licence

S. Bharadwaj


In the early poetry, 18 Poems and 25 Poems, Dylan Thomas speaks of his awareness of the artistic heritage and also of his poetic freedom resulting in a poetic force.The Map of Love vindicates, while mapping out the continuous process of exploiting poetic licence in his works, that the poetry of the past cannot fully serve the demands of the present. Apparently, the third book offers a comparative estimate of  the time-conscientious poets, Cecil Day Lewis, Stephen Spender, and Louis MacNeice and the life-conscious War poets, Roy Fuller, Alan  Rook, and Keidrych Rhys.The issues involved are wider and cover the whole range of aesthetic transcendence and historic sense of Auden. Thomas, “refusing to fall in love with God … gave himself to the love of created things … accepting only what he could see” and created his own poetic design, “an ideal surely which … here if anywhere is feasible.” This explains why Thomas’s earth-concentric poetic licence is deeper than Auden’s ideology-centric poetic justice. The War poets heaved a sigh of relief as the world-concentric Thomas’s 18 Poems offers a hope for poetry, “life-blood” for their poetic mind fumbling around Auden’s structural consciousness. The poetic licence developed in The Map of Love is, therefore, central to an understanding of Thomas’s entire poetic ouvre, more particularly, of the maturer poetry of the later phase carving out a road taken already to immortality. In the literary study of this collection, Walford Davies and John Ackerman refer to Thomas’s “querying the nature” of  his own “earlier adolescent attitudes.” However, as their study remains limited to general or literal statements, denotative or elucidative meaning of a few individual poems, they fail to render the core of the poem, the totality of its meaning. The poetic language of this transitional  poem is endowed with implications, suggestions, and modifications. Hence, this paper undertaking a comparative and contrastive evaluation of the dramatic rule and energy, the poetic licence and the poetic justice underlying the poem, strives to highlight its intrinsic values associated with contextual significances and establish Thomas’s distinctive contribution to the artistic heritage of English poetry.



Poetic licence, assimilate, egotism, complexity, amplitude, erudition, and anarchy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.5p.44


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