The death of Dylan Thomas: a conspiracy theoryBMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4595 (Published 16 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4595
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
The idea of the “poète maudit”—the cursed poet—who drinks, drugs, and misbehaves his way to an early grave is one that is now deeply engraved on our consciousness. Of course, nowadays there are a lot of maudits who are by no means poètes: and where everyone is a bohemian, no one is. But still the image lives on.
Dylan Thomas (1914-53) was a perfect poète maudit. He spent much of his short life in dark bars, inhaling smoke and imbibing beer, often at other people’s expense. Until I read David N Thomas’s book Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas? I (like most people) had always assumed …