The existence of The Fifth Notebook of Dylan Thomas was unknown until it was sold at auction by Sotheby’s to Swansea University in December 2014.
It has since been painstakingly edited by John Goodby, Professor of Arts and Culture at Sheffield Hallam University, and Dr Adrian Osbourne, from Swansea University.
A formal launch of the annotated manuscript version of the notebook will take place virtually on 27 October - the 106th anniversary of the poet’s birth with John and Adrian discussing the editorial process and sharing images from the book.
Between May 1930 and August 1935, Dylan Thomas kept numerous notebooks of poems, containing drafts of some of his most famous poems. Thomas sold four of the notebooks, spanning May 1930 to May 1934, to the University of Buffalo in 1941. However, the existence of a fifth notebook, covering the period June 1934 to August 1935, was unknown until 2014.
Mislaid at his mother-in-law’s house in 1938, the notebook was saved from the flames of the kitchen boiler furnace by the family servant, Louie King, who kept it until her death in 1984.
Professor Goodby said: “The extraordinary document contains sixteen of Thomas's most famous poems as well as also much previously unseen material, vivid testimony to his creative processes.
“It has been a labour of love to bring the notebook to life. We hope it sheds new light on the creative practice of one of the most important and well-known poets of the twentieth century.”
Thomas has a Sheffield connection and visited the city in person. His film New Towns for Old is set in Sheffield, and there are crucial scenes from his WWII filmscript, for Our Country, which are set in the city.
Anyone interested in attending the launch which will take place via Zoom at 7pm on Tuesday 27 October should contact Professor Goodby or Dr Osbourne for the Zoom link and password.