Auden, W.H. (1907-1973)
Thousands have lived without love;
A selective list of online literary criticism for the English poet and librettist (who became a US citizen) W.H. Auden, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources
introduction & biography
"W.H. Auden." The highly accurate, archived version of the Wikipedia.org entry on Auden, recommended by the W.H. Auden Society. The Auden Society urges online researchers to consult this article rather than the current Wikipedia article on Auden, which may be less accurate and is subject to vandalism.
Hammer, Langdon. "Lecture 22 - W.H. Auden." In the first of two lectures on Auden, "This lecture presents the early poetry of W.H. Auden. In 'From the Very First Coming Down,' Auden's relationship to the reader is considered, as well as the role of economy, truth, and morality in his poetics. The political Auden is examined in 'Spain' and 'September 1, 1939,' along with his later practice of revising controversial poems. Finally, his interest in traditional forms, his vision of love, and his characteristic perspectivism, are explored in 'This Lunar Beauty' and 'As I Walked Out One Evening.'" [2 lectures]. Audio, video, and transcript from Professor Hammer's class at Yale, ENGL 310: Modern Poetry, Spring, 2007.
"W.H. Auden." Encyclopedia-type introduction to Auden's themes, style, and techniques, includes a biography and text for some of his most famous poems. Also, a bibliography of his books and a selected reading list. Poetry Foundation.
"W.H. Auden." An introduction, with additional articles available on related poets and Auden's collaborations with musicians, and text for some of his most famous poems. Includes audio files of Auden reading his own work. From the Academy of American Poets.
"W.H. Auden." An introduction and biography for Auden from educational publisher Pearson/Longman.
Bucknell, Katherine, ed. "First loves chapter and verse." Valentine Cunningham on Auden's early poems, "rooted in guilt and desire," and Katherine Bucknell's W.H. Auden: Juvenilia. The Guardian 31 July 1994.
Bucknell, Katherine. "In praise of a guilty genius: Britain has a curious ambivalence towards the poet and critic W.H. Auden, in part since he 'abandoned' England for the US in the 1930s." Centenary article on W.H. Auden. The Guardian 4 Feb. 2007.
Bayley, John. "How Auden Settled for the Wrong Blond." A rev. of Dorothy J. Farman's Auden in Love. The Guardian 21 March 1985.
Jenkins, Nicholas. "The Travelling Auden." On W.H. Auden's various residences and travels, in W.H. Auden Society Newsletter, 24 (July 2004).
"Auden at 100," by Meghan O'Rourke. She notes of Auden (who died at age 67), "It is tempting to imagine that it wasn't the drugs and liquor that prematurely aged him, but his literary aesthetic itself: the mantle of moral and political responsibility he believed came with the job of being a poet." Slate 1 March 2007.
"Saviour and scapegoat." On a new edition of Auden's poems, W.H. Auden: Collected Poems, Edward Mendelson, ed. (Faber 2007). Reviewer Ian Sansom remarks, "Auden's talent is almost too large to comprehend." The Guardian, 12 March 2007.
Tranter, John. "Uncle Wystan." On Auden's life and Richard Davenport-Hines's biography of him, Auden (William Heinemann 1995).
"W.H. Auden." Brief comments by literary critic Dana Gioia about why he first liked W.H. Auden.
"W.H. Auden." A short introduction to Auden from his publisher Random House.
"Auden on Bin Laden." On the relevance of W.H. Auden's poem "September 1, 1939" to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. By Eric McHenry in Slate 20 Sept. 2001.
"W.H. Auden." A very brief biography of Auden from the BBC.
An early review of Auden's poetry: Basil de Selincourt on Look, Stranger! From The Guardian, 1936.
O'Neill, Michael. "W.H. Auden." A substantial introduction to W.H. Auden, from the Literary Encyclopedia [subscription service].
Baker, Robert S. A rev. of Valentine Cunningham's British Writers of the Thirties. Contemporary Literature 31 (1990) [first page only, blurred, jstor].
Berryman, John. "Auden's Prose." One great poet reviews another's prose writing: Berryman on Auden's The Dyer's Hand. NY Review of Books 1 Feb. 1963.
Burt, Stephen and Hannah Brooks-Motl, eds. A review of Randall Jarrell on W.H. Auden (Columbia UP 2005). Washington Post 3 July 2005.
Cappeluti, Jo-Anne. "Thank you, fog: W.H. Auden as presiding genius." On Auden's address to the fog. Renascence Summer 1997 [sub ser, highbeam].
Forbes, Peter. "Indiscretions at the High Table of Verse." A rev. of Alan Ansen's The Table Talk Of W.H. Auden. Writes Forbes, "The great paradox about Auden is this: how can the writer of the sanest, most liberal and chaste poetry in English of the 20th century also be the crotchty, opinionated old fossicker of the Table Talk?" The Guardian 15 Aug. 1991.
Fenton, James. "Auden's Enchantment." NY Review of Books, 13 April 2000. A wide-ranging review of major books on W.H. Auden [purchase or by subscription].
Gopnik, Adam. "The Double Man: Why Auden is an indispensable poet of our time." Rev. of the second volume of Auden's prose, Prose: Volume II, 1939-1948, edited by Edward Mendelson. The New Yorker 23 Sept. 2002.
Gottlieb, Susannah Young-Ah. "'Reflection on the right to will': Auden's 'Canzone' and Arendt's notes on willing" [and Hannah Arendt]. "Does God ever judge us by appearances? I suspect that he does." Comparative Literature 53, 2 (Spring 2001) pp 131-50 [first page only, blurred, jstor].
Harries, Rev. "The Christian Reticence of W. H. Auden," transcript of a talk given 15 Jan. 2009, at Gresham College, London.
Kimball, Roger. "The permanent Auden." A lengthy article attempts to define Auden's poetic stature. The New Criterion 17, 9 (May 1999).
Kirsch, Arthur, ed. A review of Arthur Kirsch's Lectures on Shakespeare by W.H. Auden. Reviewer Frank Kermode notes of Auden's lecture style, "Auden was by this time a practised lecturer, and his unprofessorial manner on the platform appealed strongly to his audiences, which were large - as many, it is said, as five hundred. Somebody remarked that the crowd couldn't have been more enthusiastic if Shakespeare had been lecturing on Auden." From London Review of Books 23, 4, (22 February 2001). Also, A NY Times review, by William Logan, 11 Feb. 2001; The first chapter of Lectures on Shakespeare.
Mendelson, Edward. "Clouseau Investigates Auden." Prof. Mendelson sets the record straight about Auden's possible connection with the flight of the Soviet spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean in 1951. Auden Society, 2007.
Mendelson, Edward. National Public Radio presentation on W.H. Auden, includes Prof. Mendelson discussing "Funeral Blues," 21 Feb. 2007.
Mendelson, Edward. "Politicians Have Appropriated W.H. Auden's 'Sept. 1, 1939' for Their Own Purposes." Brief video lecture by Prof. Mendelson, who objects to the way politicians have misused language from Auden's poem "Sept. 1, 1939."
Smith, Stan. "The Dating of Auden's 'Who Will Endure' and the Politics of 1931." The Review of English Studies 41, 163 (Aug. 1990) [first page only, oxford jour].
1998-2012 by Jan Pridmore