Wystan Hugh Auden Essay

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Wystan Hugh Auden Wystan Hugh Auden was born on February 21, 1907, in provincial York, England. Over the next sixty-six years, he became one of the most prolific poets of the twentieth century. He was a versatile poet who felt that poetry was "a game of knowledge." He boarded at Gresham’s School in Norfolk and in 1925 went to Christ Church at Oxford. Although he initially studied biology, he quickly switched to English. From there he embarked on a literary career that covered almost fifty years. Auden’s influences were plentiful: T. S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Frost, and above all Thomas Hardy. Ironically, future generations of poets, including John Ashbery, W.S. Merwin, James Wright, and James Merrill,…show more content…
While Auden’s early works quickly brought him attention, these collections were viewed with more skepticism due to his left-wing leanings. These new works were characterized by indirectness of statement, often displayed in short lines, and an explosion of surrealist language. The poems were powerfully disturbing comments on the current state of European affairs. Although not a communist, Auden even wrote a poem entitled "A Communist to Others." This culminated in his minor involvement in the Spanish Civil War (1937). Disillusionment over the state of European affairs led Auden to the third "chapter" of his career, America. In January of 1939, Auden moved to New York City. It’s here that he completed his most important collection of poems, Another Time (1940). Many of Auden’s oft- anthologized poems come from this volume. In "September 1, 1939," "waves of anger and fear / Circulate over the bright / And darkened lands of the earth, / Obsessing our private lives; / The unmentionable odour of death / Offends the September night" (l. 6-11). This poem supplies a good example of Auden’s concentration on the historical events of his time as well as a concern over the horrors of war. The poem tries to come to terms with the failure of the "clever hopes" of a "low dishonest decade" for social and personal renewal (l. 4-5). Although he later criticized the poem because he felt it was too sanctimonious, it provided one of Auden’s

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