Stephen Spender

Spender, Sir Stephen

Sir Stephen Spender, 1909–95, English poet and critic, b. London. His early poetry—like that of W. H. Auden, C. Day Lewis, and Louis MacNeice, with whom he became associated at Oxford—was inspired by social protest. His autobiography, World within World (1951), is a re-creation of much of the political and social atmosphere of the 1930s. A member of the political left wing during this early period, he was one of those who wrote of their disillusionment with communism in the essay collection The God that Failed (1949). His passionate and lyrical verse, filled with images of the modern industrial world yet intensely personal, is collected in such volumes as Twenty Poems (1930), The Still Centre (1939), Poems of Dedication (1946), Collected Poems, 1928–1953 (1955), Selected Poems (1964), The Generous Days (1971), and Collected Poems 1928–1985 (1986). The Destructive Element (1935), The Creative Element (1953), The Making of a Poem (1955), and Love–Hate Relations (1974) contain literary and social criticism. His other works include short stories, the novel The Backward Son (1940), translations such as Schiller's Mary Stuart (1959), and sociological studies like The Year of the Young Rebels (1969). He was coeditor of the magazines Horizon with Cyril Connolly (1939–41) and Encounter (1953–66). Spender was knighted in 1983.

See his Journals, 1939–83 (1986, ed. by J. Goldsmith) and Letters to Christopher (1980, ed. by L. Bartlett); biography by J. Sutherland (2004); studies by A. K. Weatherhead (1975), S. N. Pandey (1982), and S. Sternlicht (1992).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Stephen Spender: Selected full-text books and articles

Shelley By Stephen Spender Longmans, Green, 1952
The Still Centre By Stephen Spender Faber and Faber, 1939
Trial of a Judge: A Tragedy in Five Acts By Stephen Spender Faber and Faber, 1938
The Struggle of the Modern By Stephen Spender University of California Press, 1963
Encounters: An Anthology from the First Ten Years of Encounter Magazine By Melvin Lasky J.; Irving Kristol; Stephen Spender Basic Books, 1963
"Your Thoughts Make Shape like Snow": Louis MacNeice on Stephen Spender By Brown, Richard Danson Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 48, No. 3, Fall 2002
Poetry and the Modern World: A Study of Poetry in England between 1900 and 1939 By David Daiches University of Chicago Press, 1940
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "Poetry in the 1930's -- II: W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender"
The Golden Horizon By Cyril Connolly Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1953
Librarian’s tip: "Stephen Spender: From September Journal" begins on p. 2, "Stephen Spender: Air Raid" begins on p. 25, and "Stephen Spender: 'Rhineland Journal' " begins on p. 120
Writers Take Sides, Stalinists Take Control: The Second International Congress for the Defense of Culture (Spain 1937) By Thornberry, Robert S The Historian, Vol. 62, No. 3, Spring 2000
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The War Decade: An Anthology of the 1940s By Andrew Sinclair Hamilton, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Includes several poems by Stephen Spender
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