THOMAS, Dylan The World I Breathe. Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1939.
8o. Original pale red cloth, gilt-lettered on spine (spine slightly sunned, corners lightly bumped). Provenance: Dylan John and Florence Thomas, THE POET'S PARENTS (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY THOMAS TO HIS PARENTS on the front free endpaper: "Mother's and Dad's copy, with love. May 1940. Dylan." With small holograph corrections by Thomas on pages 85, 168, 169 and 170. In a binding variant not noted by Rolph, with two stars on the spine rather than ten.
AN INTIMATE ASSOCIATION. Throughout his life Thomas remained close to his parents, both from rural Welsh families who settled in Swansea, the English-speaking section of the Uplands. His father, called D.J., was a grammar school master with literary aspirations and passed on his love of writing, and drink, to his son. Thomas's feelings for his parents are expressed in a letter to them from 26 February 1950: "How are you both? How are you keeping, Dad? Get stronger every day, please, so that when I come home to Laugharne, you'll be up and about and able to join me for one at Phil's. And Mother, too, by that time, must be spry enough to be able to run, like a goat, down the Boat House path. I was very sad to leave you at such a moment, with Dad so weak & with Mother not fit to do all the little things for him that must be done."
Thomas's father's tragic death inspired his best-known lines, "Do not go gentle into that good night..." The World I Breathe includes selections from 18 Poems, Twenty-Five Poems, The Map of Love and several stories. Rolph 5.