In Solitude, for Company: W.H. Auden after 1940, Unpublished Prose and Recent Criticism

In Solitude, for Company: W.H. Auden after 1940, Unpublished Prose and Recent Criticism

In Solitude, for Company: W.H. Auden after 1940, Unpublished Prose and Recent Criticism

In Solitude, for Company: W.H. Auden after 1940, Unpublished Prose and Recent Criticism

Synopsis

The third volume of Auden Studies focuses on the later career of this major poet and intellectual, and includes a great deal of previously unpublished prose by him, as well as a selection from his letters. The writings demonstrate the scope of his intellect, which ranged easily from psychoanalysis to theology, archaeology to politics. Each piece is annotated and introduced by an Auden specialist, several of whom also contribute to a symposium, included here, on Auden's great poem "In Praise of Limestone."

Excerpt

This third volume of Auden Studies presents Auden in maturity--at the height of his powers as a poet, a lecturer, an essayist, a letter writer, and a model for younger poets. The four opening sections focus on original material by Auden which is published here for the first time. They begin with Auden's lecture, 'Vocation and Society', delivered during the war to a group of American undergraduates; the theme suggested by the title had obsessive personal and public importance to Auden in this period. The lecture is introduced and annotated by Nicholas Jenkins. After the lecture is a selection from Auden's energetic and revealing letters to his close friends from the 1930s onward, the late James Stern and Tania Stern. The letters are annotated by Nicholas Jenkins who also provides an introductory essay about the Sterns and their friendship with Auden, and about James Stern's career as a writer. The next item, The Fall of Rome, was originally prepared by Auden in 1966 for Life Magazine and is printed here for the first time with an introduction by the classicist, G. W. Bowersock. Following the essay on Rome is another lecture, 'Phantasy and Reality in Poetry', which offers probably Auden's fullest treatment of the relation between art and Freudian psychoanalysis. Katherine Bucknell introduces the lecture with an account of the career-long evolution of Auden's attitude to Freud and of the new light the lecture casts on Auden's work; she has annotated the lecture and in an appendix describes some of Auden's earliest reading material. Next, the Austrian writer Stella Musulin, who became a close friend of Auden during his final summers in Kirchstetten, offers a personal memoir with previously unpublished correspondence and with the English original of a short lecture that Auden delivered in a German translation she had prepared for him.

Following the sections containing original material by Auden, are a group of literary critical essays. The poet Alfred Corn offers a detailed analysis of Auden's Christmas oratorio 'For the Time Being'. Edward Upward, Michael Wood, Edna Longley, David Bromwich, and Lawrence Lipking join in a critical symposium about Auden 1948 poem 'In Praise of Limestone'. And Ian Sansom looks at Auden's influence on the poet Randall Jarrell, author of some famous attacks on Auden's later poetry.

Finally, Edward Mendelson contributes an annotated list of . . .

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