The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to
the British neo-Romantic tradition,
from 1880 to the present day.
While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of
publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions
remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden
tradition to light.
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WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?
Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration
from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.
Characteristic themes in their work include a
mystical approach to the British landscape...
ENTRY: Thomas, R.S.
Ronald Stuart Thomas (b. 29 March 1913 – d.
25 September 2000) (published as R. S. Thomas) was a poet and
Anglican Clergyman, noted for his spirituality.
He was the best known poet from Wales of his day.
R.S. Thomas was born in Cardiff, son of a sea captain, after which the family settled at the ferry port of Holyhead on Angelesey.
He went up to University College, Bangor, where he read Latin and Classics.
In 1937 he was ordained as a priest, in the Anglican Church.
For twelve years, from 1942-54, Thomas was rector at the remote rural parish of Manafon.
It was at this time that he published his first book of poetry,
The Stones of the Field.
Thomas' poetry achieved a breakthrough at the age of 42 with the publication of his fourth book
Song at the Year's Turning which was critically very well received.
It opened with a famous introduction by John Betjeman, one of his admirers.
His position was also helped by winning the Royal Society of Literature's Heinemann Award.
In 1996 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, by which time
his dogmatic political nationalism had long eclipsed his poetry in the public mind. He lost out to
He wrote prolifically, and more than 1,500 poems by him are known -
in addition to the sackfuls of his poems that his wife burned. His Collected Poems
ran to 500 pages.
Almost all of Thomas' work concerns his twin passions, the Welsh landscape
and the Welsh people - or rather, his dream of that landscape and people. His religious views, as
might be expected from a clergyman, are also present in his works - although towards the end of his life
his religion was strained through bitterness and despair. His experience
of Welsh farming life led him to re-make the traditional pastoral lyric, with harsh and
vivid descriptions of a bleak and blinkered rural life that knew little of the lyrical
and spiritual heritage of Wales. He was also deeply aware of the severing history embedded into the Welsh landscape...
To live in Wales is to be conscious
His later works were of a more metaphysical even mystical nature,
more experimental and focused more on his personal spirituality. Laboratories of the Spirit
(1975) gives, in its title, a hint at this change in subject matter. Thomas
described this shift as an investigation into the adult geometry of the mind.
He also experimented with publishing poetry alongside original artworks by other artists.
Byron Rogers. The Man Who Went Into the West: The Life of R.S. Thomas (2005)
At dusk of the spilled blood
That went to the making of the wild sky
-- from: Welsh Landscape