[Dylan] Thomas made an unlikely hero – a short, curly-haired, tubby man, usually in a borrowed suit, with a cigarette permanently cushioned on a fat bottom lip. But he is the man who inspired John Lennon to write songs, put the Dylan into Bob, took the girlfriend of Augustus John to bed (and had him pay for the hotel room), hung out with Salvador Dalí, was feted by Charlie Chaplin and photographed for Vogue by Lee Miller.
The brand new Library of Birmingham opens next week, and the gigantic structure is said to be “Europe’s largest public library.” In addition to its modern architecture, the facility also offers “a room from the 19th Century … to house one of the UK’s most important Shakespeare collections.”
Eagleton copes with his problem—that he’s retailing clichés throughout—by repackaging them. Most of the time, he does so in a pedestrian way. So we hear that the qualities we most value in daily existence are ‘strength, heroism, glamour, spectacle, self-discipline, stamina, recklessness, a winning spirit, a consuming desire for wealth and ferocious competitiveness.’ We’re also reminded of America’s ‘hunger for progress, achievement, expansion, advancement, possession, consumption.’