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Dylan Thomas

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Dylan Thomas was born on 27 October 1914 in Swansea, the son of Florence Hannah (née Williams; 1882–1958), a seamstress, and David John Thomas (1876–1952), a teacher. His father had a first-class honours degree in English from University College, Aberystwyth and ambitions to rise above his position teaching English literature at the local grammar school. Thomas had one sibling, Nancy Marles (1906–1953), who was eight years his senior. The children spoke only English, though their parents were bilingual in English and Welsh, and David Thomas gave Welsh lessons at home. Thomas's father chose the name Dylan, which could be translated as "son of the sea", after Dylan ail Don, a character in The Mabinogion. His middle name, Marlais, was given in honour of his great-uncle, William Thomas, a Unitarian minister and poet whose bardic name was Gwilym Marles. Dylan, pronounced ˈ [ˈdəlan] (Dull-an) in Welsh, caused his mother to worry that he might be teased as the "dull one". When he broadcast on Welsh BBC, early in his career, he was introduced using this pronunciation. Thomas favoured the Anglicised pronunciation and gave instructions that it should be Dillan /ˈdɪlən/.

Thomas once confided that the poems which had most influenced him were Mother Goose rhymes which his parents taught him when he was a child:

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