Long-lost Dylan Thomas manuscript found

Story highlights

  • A long-lost notebook full of poems by Dylan Thomas is to be sold at auction
  • Book was discarded by Thomas and due to be burnt, but was saved by a housemaid
  • Manuscript contains working versions of some of the poet's key works
  • Sale likely to attract attention, bids, from universities and libraries in UK, U.S.
A notebook full of work-in-progress versions of some of Dylan Thomas's key poems has been rediscovered more than 70 years after the poet's mother-in-law ordered it to be burnt.
The book, in Thomas's cramped, neat handwriting, includes 19 poems in varying states of completion, some with large sections scratched out and revised, and offers a valuable insight into his creative process.
Hailed as a "terrific discovery" by one leading Thomas expert, the workbook is set to sell at auction for upwards of £100,000 ($156,430), capping off the writer's centenary year and tantalizing poetry scholars around the world.
Thomas, one of the leading poets of the 20th Century, is thought to have discarded the notebook during a stay at the home of his mother-in-law, Yvonne Macnamara, at some point in the late 1930s.
Thomas and Macnamara did not get on, and he wrote to a friend of his dislike for both her and the place -- Blashford in Hampshire -- in southern England.
"This flat English country levels the intelligence, planes down the imagination, narrows the a's, my ears belch up old wax and misremembered passages of misunderstood music, I sit and hate my mother-in-law, glowering at her from corners and grumbling about her in the sad, sticky, quiet of the lavatory."
Macnamara gave the workbook to her maid, Louie King, and told her to dispose of it, but King opted to save it from the flames, and instead stashed it away for decades.