You have to get to know Caitlin Thomas if you want to completely understand the man behind Dylan Thomas. The wife, and most believed to be the muse, of the famous Welsh poet, lived a somewhat stormy affair.
But before we can dwell on their relationship as husband and wife, let us look into the history of this controversial woman that once won the heart of an emotional poet.
Who is Caitlin Thomas
Caitlin was born on December 8, 1913, in Hammersmith, London. Before her marriage to Dylan Thomas, she was known as Caitlin Macnamara. Her parents were Francis and Yvonne Macnamara. Her ancestors included Henry Vee Macnamara, one of the old Irish land-owning family.
Her father was also moving in the literary circles, but unlike her soon-to-be husband, he was not as successful. He also flirted and slept with other women. This led to his decision to leave his family – including Caitlin who was only four or five. Her mother, Yvonne, was forced to live in Ringwood, near the family of Augustus John. That was where she and her sisters grew up.
When Caitlin was in her teens, she fell in love with Caspar John, the son of Augustus John. He was eleven years her senior – but it did not matter to her. It was not evident if the feeling was reciprocated but the life of the John’s proved to be more involved in her life. After painting her, Augustus John felt that it was his right to rape her – and so he did.
At the age of 16, Caitlin went to London to enter a dancing school and by 18, she was a member of the London Chorus line. She lived in Paris before moving back to County Clare in 1934.
The life of Caitlin was not as secure nor was it as stable as the life that her soon-to-be husband lived. Her life paled in comparison. But there was more to this woman that captivated Dylan Thomas and made them fall in love with each other.
Dylan and Caitlin Thomas
In 1936, Dylan and Caitlin Thomas were introduced to each other by no other than Augustus John. What really happened is actually still a mystery. The poet himself said that they were both in bed ten minutes after meeting each other. It seems like an exaggeration that may be hard to believe, but the two of them are capable of doing something like that. By the end of 1936, the two started a relationship through correspondence. That led to their marriage in 1937 in Penzance, Cornwall.
Although blessed with three children, their union was not one filled with love and contentment. It was often described as fueled by both infidelity and alcohol. It was stormy – at best.
Caitlin was a true rebel between the two. She didn’t really think about what other people would think. However, while Dylan was the one who grew up in a more normal childhood, it was Caitlin that some people have shown sympathy for. Apparently, Dylan tended to be harsh with his words towards his wife. And with Caitlin being the rebel that she was, fights would naturally progress.
It was believed that Caitlin resented her role as a stay-at-home mom – especially since their home was such a rundown place. Their marriage deteriorated further when Dylan started going on tours in America. He left his wife alone to care for the children and pay the bills and outstanding debt.
Stories may have revealed a less than stellar marriage. But in memoirs left by Caitlin Thomas and the unearthing of a personal journal, it was revealed that she did love her husband. Despite everything, they remained married until his death.