The Dark Philosophers
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The Dark Philosophers

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Incest, murder, delusion and a devastating, tragic humor mark these three novellas that Gwyn Thomas wrote in 1946: The Dark Philosophers, Oscar, and Simeon. In this book the grimly humorous philosophers gather in an Italian café in the terraces to tell the tragic tale of comeuppance and manslaughter that they engineer.
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Parthian Books
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I only read 'Oscar' from this volume, since that's all I have to read for class. I was promised that Gwyn Thomas is pretty funny. There is a dark sort of humour in his work, yeah, but it wasn't laugh out loud funny, at least not most of the time. There's something very, very bleak about it. Oscar isn't exactly a sympathetic character, and no one else in the story has the personality to counteract how strong a character he is, so it's a pretty slimy sort of read, too.
Ben Dutton
In 2006 the Library of Wales was set up to reprint classics of Anglo-Welsh fiction, which is Welsh fiction written in English. The aim was to bring much neglected Welsh fiction back to the public, and included such authors as Geraint Goodwin, Dorothy Edwards, Ron Berry and Gwyn Thomas. I would summarise the history of English language Welsh fiction, but poet Owen Shears did it so well in The Guardian I will link you directly to his article.

As a writer, and a writer of Anglo-Welsh fiction, I have...more
This was really really really good - three novellas from the 40's full of black humour and grim poverty, set in the Welsh Valleys where life is "a large, black item that has been kicked clean out of shape by years of being a lot poorer than even life has a right to be". The best of the lot was definitely The Dark Philosophers itself, but throughout Gwyn Thomas writes with compassion and warmth and horror and it feels way ahead of its time, like a prototype of those Angry Young Men novels of the...more
An interesting book, lots of dark imagery, and the best part of it all. There is a serious social political theme to all the stories. Unfortunately, none of them end well, its just a series of unfortunate events that lead to more unfortunate events.

Well written though, and there is a nice ability on the part of the author to make you feel cold and wet when the description of the story involves rain and cold weather.
It reinforced my impression that Gwyn Thomas is a greatly underestimated and under appreciated author. Anyone who is tired of contemporary "Welsh Noir" should sample the 1930's variety. "How Green Was My Valley" this is not. Three short stories/novellas. The title story is both darkly humorous and masterfully composed.
Jun 16, 2007 Peter rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone with time to kill who like jokes about the labor movement.
Shelves: fiction
Socialists are funny. A couple good stories a couple of ok ones.
Jazzy D
i can't see myself finishing this, ever.
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Gwyn Thomas (6 July 1913 – 13 April 1981) was a Welsh writer who has been called 'the true voice of the English-speaking valleys'.

Gwyn Thomas was born in Cymmer, Porth in the Rhondda Valley, the youngest of 12 children to coalminer Walter Morgan Thomas and his wife. His mother died when he was aged six, and he was resultantly brought up by his sister, often with handouts from the local soup kitche...more
More about Gwyn Thomas...
A Few Selected Exits The Alone to the Alone All Things Betray Thee Sorrow For Thy Sons Selected Short Stories

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