25 DECEMBER 1964, Page 14


SIR,—Does Mr. FitzGibbon really mean to imply ('The Posthumous Life of Dylan Thomas,' November 27) that Thomas's poetry is not crammed with Biblical language and Biblical imagery? The offhand comment that he 'may be presumed to have read the Bible' hardly does justice to the extraordinarily effective use of Biblical allusion in the poetry of Dylan Thomas. 1 might add that 1 was astonished to find a writer of Mr. FitzGibbon's stature using the word 'devoutedly'; one encounters this ugly and illegitimate coinage in undistinguished undergraduate 'essays, but it is surprising to find it in the Spectator.

Perhaps I ought to point 'out in passing that Mr. Alan Brien, in his 'Afterthought' for December 4, misquotes Dr. Johnson. I doubt if Mr. Brien. who was presumably quoting from memory, is likely to be particularly disturbed by my transatlantic pedantry, but according to Boswell what Johnson said of Berkeley's 'ingenious sophistry to prove the non- existence of matter' was, 'I refute it thus,' while he was 'striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone.'

Winnipeg 2, Manitoba