By Tony Sharpe
W. H. Auden is a big of twentieth-century English poetry whose writings exhibit a sustained engagement with the days during which he lived. yet how did the century's transferring cultural terrain have an effect on him and his paintings? Written through uncommon poets and students, those short yet authoritative essays supply a various set of coordinates wherein to chart Auden's constantly evolving profession, interpreting key features of his environmental, cultural, political, and inventive contexts. achieving past mere biography, those essays current Auden because the fabricated from ongoing negotiations among himself, his time, and posterity, exploring the long-lasting strength of his poetry to unsettle and impress. the gathering will turn out worthwhile for students, researchers, and scholars of English literature, cultural reviews, and inventive writing
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Extra info for W. H. Auden in context
Thus it changed from being the object of (internalizing) childhood fixation to that of (externalizing) religious devotion, in the sense, as he later put it, that ‘To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself. Whenever a man so concentrates his attention – on a landscape, a poem, a geometrical problem, an idol, or the True God – that he completely forgets his own ego and desires, he is praying’ (CW, p. 306). Although Auden’s northerliness was generic, to the extent that it included places like Iceland and Hammerfest because of their latitudes, it was most identifiable with a specific location, defined by the coordinates given in ‘New Year Letter’ or a 1950 letter to Geoffrey Grigson: ‘My Great Good Place is the part of the Pennines bounded on the S by Swaledale, on the North by the Romans Wall and on the W by the Eden Valley’ (quoted RD-H 1995, p.
A fascistic ‘enemy’ at home seeks to ‘destroy the efflorescence of the flesh’ and ‘censor the play of the mind’, enforcing ‘Conformity with the orthodox bone’. . / Needs death, death of the grain, our death. / Death of the old gang’. Berlin the city has left its mark. This is the highly seductive structure of poetic address that worked so effectively for Auden in the 1930s, but which he later rejected as manipulative and ‘untrue’: ‘you’ the reader might not travel to Berlin (or Shanghai or Spain), but could share like a secret agent in the coded knowledge with which Auden’s poetic ‘I’ returned.
228), which is ‘without pity / Destroying the historic city’. Here the ‘historic city’ (DM l, p. 1307; CP 2007, p. 231) represents both the capitalist United States of ‘Industrial man’ (DM l, p. 1329) and Europe under siege from fascism. ‘New Year Letter’ is, as Edward Mendelson observes, an epic meditation on Auden’s Faustian pact with America in which ‘the dialectic is still at its constructive work’ (LA, p. 121; see also pp. 101–03). The poem’s Goethean references, like the host of citations in the eighty pages of notes, also link the New World both intertextually and historically with the Old.