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W.H. Auden was born in 1907 and went to Oxford University, where he became Professor of Poetry from 1956 to 1960. After the publication of his Poems in 1930, he became the acknowledged leader of the 'thirties poets'. His poetic output was prolific, and he also wrote verse plays in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood, with whom he visited china. In 1946 he became a U.S. citizen. He died in 1973.
July 2011 Guest Editor Alexander McCall Smith on Poems... In my view Auden is without equal among twentieth century poets. His is a profound voice, full of insight and wisdom. This is a handsome edition of his work. I first picked Auden’s Collected Shorter Poems off the shelf of a library. I had no idea at the time that this book would influence me so much. In fact, I think it changed my life, in that it very profoundly affected my outlook on so many things. Now I press that volume into the hands of anybody who asks me what to read.
W. H. Auden (1907-73) came to prominence in the 1930s among a generation of outspoken poets that included his friends Louis MacNeice, Stephen Spender and C. Day Lewis. But he was also an intimate and lyrical poet of great originality, and a master craftsman of some of the most cherished and influential poems of the past century. Other volumes in this series: Betjemen, Eliot, Plath, Hughes and Yeats.
This is the fifth volume to be published in the ongoing complete edition of Auden's works, under the editorship of Edward Mendelson. It includes the essays, reviews, and other prose that Auden published or prepared for publication between 1949 -- when he wrote his first book of criticism, The Enchafed Flood -- and December 1955, shortly before he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford and began the series of lectures that he published, with much else, in The Dyer's Hand. The texts throughout this edition are, wherever possible, newly edited from Auden's manuscripts, and the notes report variant readings from all published versions.
This volume contains all of W. H. Auden's prose works from 1949 through 1955, including many little-known essays that exemplify his range, wit, depth, and wisdom. The book includes the complete text of Auden's first separately published prose book, The Enchafed Flood, or, The Romantic Iconography of the Sea, followed by more than one hundred separate essays, reviews, introductions, and lectures, as well as a questionnaire (complete with his own answers) about the reader's fantasy version of Eden. Two reviews that Auden wrote for the New Yorker, but which the magazine never printed, appear here for the first time, and a series of aphorisms previously published only in a French translation are printed in English. Among the previously unpublished lectures is a long account of the composition of his poem Prime, complete with his comments on early rejected drafts. The variety of style and subject in this book is almost inexhaustible. Auden writes about the imaginary mirrors that everyone carries through life; French existentialism and New Yorker cartoons; Freud, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, and Camus; Keats, Cervantes, Melville, Colette, Byron, Virgil, Yeats, Tolkien, and Virginia Woolf; opera, ballet, cinema, prosody, and music; English and American poetry and society; and politics and religion. The introduction by Edward Mendelson places the essays in biographical and historical context, and the extensive textual notes explain obscure contemporary references and provide an often-amusing history of Auden's work as an editor of anthologies and a series of books by younger poets.
This edition includes all the poems that Auden wished to preserve, in a text that includes his final revisions, with corrections based on the latest research. In a new preface, Edward Mendelson offers a critical appreciation of Auden, as well as explanation of the history of the text and the editorial principles that he has followed. The Collected Poems covers the full range of Auden's extraordinary output, divided into sections that corresponded to what Auden referred to as chapters in his life: the moment in 1933 when he first knew 'exactly what it means to love one's neighbour as oneself'; his move from Britain to America in 1939; his first summer in Italy in 1948; his move to a summerhouse in Austria in 1958; and his return to England in 1972.
Another Time was the first volume that Auden published after his departure to America with Christopher Isherwood in January 1939. It was dedicated to Chester Kallman. The poems, some of which date from the early thirties, are about people, places and the intellectual climate of the times, and they show greater variety of tone and technique than in any previous book of Auden's. Some of his most famous and often quoted (or misquoted) lines appear in their original form, including the text of two poems in particular - 'Spain 1937' and 'September 1,1939' - that he later altered or repudiated. '[He] has made himself into a kind of unofficial poet laureate. If I am bombed I hope he will write a few sapphics about me.' Stephen Spender, 1941
Written in the midst of World War II after its author emigrated to America, The Sea and the Mirror is not merely a great poem but ranks as one of the most profound interpretations of Shakespeare's final play in the twentieth century. As W. H. Auden told friends, it is really about the Christian conception of art and it is my Ars Poetica, in the same way I believe The Tempest to be Shakespeare's. This is the first critical edition. Arthur Kirsch's introduction and notes make the poem newly accessible to readers of Auden, readers of Shakespeare, and all those interested in the relation of life and literature--those two classic themes alluded to in its title. The poem begins in a theater after a performance of The Tempest has ended. It includes a moving speech in verse by Prospero bidding farewell to Ariel, a section in which the supporting characters speak in a dazzling variety of verse forms about their experiences on the island, and an extravagantly inventive section in prose that sees the uncivilized Caliban address the audience on art--an unalloyed example of what Auden's friend Oliver Sachs has called his wild, extraordinary and demonic imagination. Besides annotating Auden's allusions and sources (in notes after the text), Kirsch provides extensive quotations from his manuscript drafts, permitting the reader to follow the poem's genesis in Auden's imagination. This book, which incorporates for the first time previously ignored corrections that Auden made on the galleys of the first edition, also provides an unusual opportunity to see the effect of one literary genius upon another.
W. H. Auden was born in York in 1907. His first full-length collection, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber in 1930. The many volumes he published thereafter included poetry, plays, essays and libretti, and his ceaseless experimentation, consummate craftsmanship and originality established him as one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century. He died in 1973.
This collection presents all the poems Auden wished to preserve, in the texts that received his final approval. It included the full contents of his previous collected editions along with all the later volumes of his shorter poems. Together, these works display the astonishing range of Auden's voice and the breadth of his concerns, his deep knowledge of the traditions he inherited, and his ability to recast those traditions in modern times.
You know the terror that for poets lurks Beyond the ferry when to Minos brought. Poets must utter their Collected Works, Including Juvenilia...--from Letter to Lord Byron (1936) Regardless of how poets feel about their youthful attempts at verse, their early poems not only enrich our understanding of their artistic growth, but also reveal much about the nature of literary genius. No other twentieth-century poet has left behind such a wealth of early poetry as did W. H. Auden. By bringing together for the first time all the poems written by Auden between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one (1922-1928), this book allows us a rare, detailed look at the literary personality, development, and preoccupations of a major poet. Auden's readers will be fascinated to find in these poems the earliest evidence of his interest in psychoanalysis, his conflicted attitude toward his homosexuality, his self-conscious approach to poetry, and his life-long journey toward a religious sense of the world. This collection includes over two hundred poems, most of them never published before, concluding with the contents of Auden's privately printed volume, Poems (1928). The poems are generously annotated with information on Auden's education, reading, literary concerns, and personal life. In her introduction, Katherine Bucknell traces important themes relating to the poet's entire career, and describes crucial but hitherto unknown aspects of his youth during his years at Gresham's School and at Christ Church, Oxford. Throughout this work we see in Auden an admirable instinct for experiment, a thorough testing of tradition, and a gathering mastery of technique and thematic argument.
W. H. Auden, poet and critic, will conduct a course on Shakespeare at the New School for Social Research beginning Wednesday. Mr. Auden has announced that in his course ...he proposes to read all Shakespeare's plays in chronological order. The New York Times reported this item on September 27, 1946, giving notice of a rare opportunity to hear one of the century's great poets comment on one of the greatest poets of all time. Published here for the first time, these lectures now make Auden's thoughts on Shakespeare available widely. Painstakingly reconstructed by Arthur Kirsch from the notes of students who attended, primarily Alan Ansen, who became Auden's secretary and friend, the lectures afford remarkable insights into Shakespeare's plays as well as the sonnets. A remarkable lecturer, Auden could inspire his listeners to great feats of recall and dictation. Consequently, the poet's unique voice, often down to the precise details of his phrasing, speaks clearly and eloquently throughout this volume. In these lectures, we hear Auden alluding to authors from Homer, Dante, and St. Augustine to Kierkegaard, Ibsen, and T. S. Eliot, drawing upon the full range of European literature and opera, and referring to the day's newspapers and magazines, movies and cartoons. The result is an extended instance of the live conversation that Auden believed criticism to be. Notably a conversation between Auden's capacious thought and the work of Shakespeare, these lectures are also a prelude to many ideas developed in Auden's later prose--a prose in which, one critic has remarked, all the artists of the past are alive and talking among themselves. Reflecting the twentieth-century poet's lifelong engagement with the crowning masterpieces of English literature, these lectures add immeasurably to both our understanding of Auden and our appreciation of Shakespeare.
W. H. Auden's first ten years in the United States were marked by rapid and extensive change in his life and thought. He became an American citizen, fell in love with Chester Kallman, and began to reflect on American culture and to explore the ideas of Reinhold Niebuhr and other Protestant theologians. This volume contains every piece of prose that Auden wrote during these years, including essays and reviews he published under pseudonyms. Most have never been reprinted in any form since their initial publication in such magazines and newspapers as the Nation, the New Republic, Common Sense, Vogue, and the New York Times. Auden's prose during this period is frequently directly autobiographical even as he comments on literature, psychology, politics, and religion. The writings range from a dialogue about W. B. Yeats through a respectful parody of Gertrude Stein to Jamesian essays on Henry James. They also include lively and often profound responses to ancient and modern history as well as to contemporary issues in politics and religion. Other highlights include writings on opera and poetry as well as reports of Auden's lectures and the text of an unfinished autobiographical book, The Prolific and the Devourer. Throughout, Edward Mendelson's extensive and illuminating editor's notes explain all contemporary and private allusions. By making available a large cache of important but previously difficult-to-obtain writings on key subjects, this volume will be of obvious appeal to Auden's legions of admirers. It will also be enjoyed by everyone interested in twentieth-century literature, religion, and culture.
Faber are pleased to announce the relaunch of the poetry list - starting in Spring 2001 and continuing, with publication dates each month, for the rest of the year. This will involve a new jacket design recalling the typographic virtues of the classic Faber poetry covers, connecting the backlist and the new titles within a single embracing cover solution. A major reissue program is scheduled, to include classic individual collections from each decade, some of which have long been unavailable: Wallace Stevens's Harmonium and Ezra Pound's Personae from the 1920s; W.H. Auden's Poems (1930); Robert Lowell's Life Studies from the 1950s; John Berryman's 77 Dream Songs and Philip Larkin's The Whitsun Weddings from the 1960s; Ted Hughes's Gaudete and Seamus Heaney's Field Work from the 1970s; Michael Hofmann's Acrimony and Douglas Dunn's Elegies from the 1980s. Timed to celebrate publication of Seamus Heaney's new collection, Electric Light, the relaunch is intended to re-emphasize the predominance of Faber Poetry, and to celebrate a series which has played a shaping role in the history of modern poetry since its inception in the 1920s.
W. H. Auden was once described as the Picasso of modern poetry - a tribute to his ceaseless experimentation with form and subject matter. Beginning with Anglo-Saxon poetry and ending with an Horatian expansiveness and conversational sweep, this volume is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in modern poetry after T. S. Eliot. In his lifetime a controversial, outspoken, yet enigmatic, writer, Auden has gradually come to seem an intimate poet, as we have learned to read him correctly. This volume is the best possible introduction to his consummate craftsmanship and his unparalleled originality which made him the master-poet of his generation.