Mention of Crowley in Dylan Thomas Biography

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Crowley gets a surprise mention in the review of a biography of Dylan Thomas…

The involvement of Victor Neuburg in Dylan Thomas’ life and work is well-documented. What isn’t so widely known is the peripheral role of Betty May.

The review of Dylan Thomas: A New Life by Andrew Lycett is printed in The Independent (UK national newspaper) of 26 October 2003…

Seemingly incapable of judging what is relevant, or else unwilling to waste any of his research, Lycett is waylaid by everyone. This result is one of the biography’s inadvertent pleasures: the hilarious parenthetical aside. In a passage on Dylan’s Fitzrovia boozing-pals of the mid-1930s, for example, we meet “artist’s model” Betty May: “After turning her back on prostitution, she married Raoul Loveday, an Oxford undergraduate who was an acolyte of Aleister Crowley. When they were both visiting Crowley’s abbey in Sicily, Loveday died in mysterious circumstances – she thought because he had been forced to drink the blood of a sacrificed cat. (The story recalls Victor Neuberg who, as part of an occult initiation ritual, had suffered the indignity of being turned into a camel by his homosexual lover, Crowley.)” Poignantly, as the parade of hangers-on, minor poets and groupies swells the biography, Thomas is lost in the text, pushed to the corner of his own life.

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