"W. H. Auden: Contexts for Poetry is an attempt to consolidate the critical findings of the last quarter century, and then take them a step further in the direction of seeing how some of Auden's most important poems can be better understood against the background of his own intellectual development and the often troubled history of his time. The book is at least as much an attempt to show how a certain type of critical methodology, which combines intellectual and social history, biography and textual analysis, helps to illuminate poems that have hitherto remained imperfectly understood. It also "contextualizes" Auden's poetry within the main parameters of existing Auden criticism, taking into account and evaluating the critical insights of the last two generations of Auden critics. This book is not a "survey" or a guide to all or even most of Auden's poetry, though it does follow the general outlines of Auden's development as a poet and thinker."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
W. H. Auden is perhaps the most important English language poet of the 20th century. He produced marvelous poems-even in his last days.However, critics and reviewers not only have not recognized the aesthetics of the poetry Auden wrote after 1965, but they have ignored or made prejudiced and disparaging remarks about it, thus diverting subsequent critical (and popular) attention from its remarkable virtues. The aim of W. H. Auden's Poetry: Mythos, Theory, and Practice is to clarify Auden's career-long interest in poetic theory and, above all, to show how his changing thoughts about poetry impelled him towards the production of the last three volumes of his verse.Because it links the poet's biographia literaria and his aesthetic vision, this book will appeal to poets as well as to students of writing-particularly those interested in the creative process and its correlation to artistic forms. Students of 20th-century American and British literature will find in these pages a comprehensive survey of Auden's thoughts about his art and the poetry of his predecessors as well as of his contemporaries. Teachers of Auden's works will appreciate the strong light such a survey casts on Auden's poetic practice. Engineers and architects, physicists and biologists, cultural critics, social scientists, philosophers, and especially Gestalt psychologists might well enjoy reading about the ways their fields have intersected and influenced the thinking of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and courageous poets.
A boxed set of the first 10 volumes in the Poet to Poet series. The featured poets are: T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, William Shakespeare, John Keats, W.B. Yeats, Homer translated by Christopher Logue, an anthology of 20th-century Scottish poets, and Ezra Pound.
This volume brings together specially commissioned essays by some of the world's leading experts on the life and work of W. H. Auden, one of the major English-speaking poets of the twentieth century. The volume's contributors include a prize-winning poet, Auden's literary executor and editor, and his most recent, widely acclaimed biographer. It offers fresh perspectives on his work from Auden critics, alongside specialists from such diverse fields as drama, ecological and travel studies. It provides scholars, students and general readers with a comprehensive and authoritative account of Auden's life and works in clear and accessible English. Besides providing authoritative accounts of the key moments and dominant themes of his poetic development, the Companion examines his language, style and formal innovation, his prose and critical writing and his ideas about sexuality, religion, psychoanalysis, politics, landscape, ecology, and globalisation. It also contains a comprehensive bibliography of writings about Auden.
''To read Randall Jarrell on W. H. Auden is to read the best-equipped of American critics of poetry of the past century on the best-equipped of its Anglo-American poets, and we rush to read, perhaps, less out of an academic interest in fair judgment than out of a spectator's love of virtuosity in flight.'' From Adam Gopnik's foreword Randall Jarrell was one of the most important poet-critics of the past century, and the poet who most fascinated and infuriated him was W. H. Auden. In Auden, Jarrell found a crucial poetic influence that needed to be both embraced and resisted. During the 1940s, Jarrell wrestled with Auden's work, writing a series of notorious articles on Auden that remain admired and controversial examples of devoted and contentious criticism. While Jarrell never completed his proposed book on Auden, these previously unpublished lectures revise and reprise his earlier articles and present new insights into Auden's work. Delivered at Princeton University in 1951 and 1952, Jarrell's lectures reflect a passionate appreciation of Auden's work, a witty attack from an informed opponent, and an important document of a major poet's reception. Jarrell's lectures offer readings of many of Auden's works, including all of his long poems, and illuminate his singular use of a variety of stylistic registers and poetic genres. In the lecture based on the article ''Freud to Paul,'' Jarrell traces the ideas and ideologies that animated and, at times, overwhelmed Auden's poetry. More precisely, he considers the influence of left-liberal politics, psychoanalytic and evolutionary theory, and the idiosyncratic Christian theology that characterized Auden's poems of the 1940s. While an admiring and sympathetic reader, Jarrell does not avoid identifying Auden's poetic failures and political excesses. He offers occasionally blistering assessments of individual poems and laments Auden's turn from a cryptic, feeling, impassioned poet to a rhetorical, self-conscious one. Stephen Burt's introduction provides a backdrop to the lectures and their reception and importance for the history of modern poetry.
Influential Ghosts: A Study of Auden's Sources explores some of the most important literary and philosophical influences on W.H. Auden's poetry. The study attempts to show that Auden's poetry derives much of its interest from the vast range of authors on whom he drew for inspiration. But it also suggest that his relationship to these writers was marked by a fascinating ambivalence. In chapters on Auden's relationship to Hardy and Kierkegaard, the study shows how, after lovingly apprenticing himself to their work and often borrowing stylistic or thematic features from it - Hardy's sweeping "hawk's vision," Kierkegaard's urgent "leap of faith" - he began to criticize the very things he had previously striven to emulate. In a chapter on Auden's elegies, the author argues that, alone among examples of this poetic genre, they both reverently mourn and harshly scrutinize their subjects (Yeats, Freud, Henry James and others). In a chapter on "structural allusion" in Auden's early poetry, the study posits that Auden singlehandedly invented a new kind of allusion in which he alludes to the form and subject matter of entire poems. But while doing so, he also finds fault with the attitudes (passivity, despair) depicted in them. In these structurally allusive poems - as with his relationship to Hardy, Kierkegaard and his elegies' subjects - Auden's sometimes accepting, sometimes skeptical attitude toward his poetic models is on powerful display, and finds a perfect counterpart in the tension between imitative form and critical content.
Edward Mendelson has significantly expanded his authoritative, chronological ordered edition of Auden's Selected Poems (first published in 1979), adding twenty items to the hundred in the original edition, and broadening the focus to reflect the wealth of forms, the rhetorical and tonal range, and the variousness of content in Auden's poetry, in the confines of one volume. In particular, there are newly included examples of Auden's mastery of light verse: the self-descriptive sequence of haiku called 'Profiles', the barbed wartime quatrains of 'Leap Before You Look', or 'Funeral Blues' itself. Also included are brief notes explaining references that may have become obscure, and a revised introduction drawing on recent additions to Auden scholarship.
When facing a moral dilemma, Isabel Dalhousie--Edinburgh philosopher, amateur detective, and title character of a series of novels by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith--often refers to the great twentieth-century poet W. H. Auden. This is no accident: McCall Smith has long been fascinated by Auden. Indeed, the novelist, best known for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, calls the poet not only the greatest literary discovery of his life but also the best of guides on how to live. In this book, McCall Smith has written a charming personal account about what Auden has done for him--and what he just might do for you. Part self-portrait, part literary appreciation, the book tells how McCall Smith first came across the poet's work in the 1970s, while teaching law in Belfast, a violently divided city where Auden's "September 1, 1939," a poem about the outbreak of World War II, strongly resonated. McCall Smith goes on to reveal how his life has related to and been inspired by other Auden poems ever since. For example, he describes how he has found an invaluable reflection on life's transience in "As I Walked Out One Evening," while "The More Loving One" has provided an instructive meditation on unrequited love. McCall Smith shows how Auden can speak to us throughout life, suggesting how, despite difficulties and change, we can celebrate understanding, acceptance, and love for others. An enchanting story about how art can help us live, this book will appeal to McCall Smith's fans and anyone curious about Auden.