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Auden's American Children

Class at Faculty of Arts |


  1. W. H. Auden: September 1, 19392. W. H. Auden: In Memory of Sigmund Freud (1939), Under Which Lyre (1946), The Fall of Rome (1947), Song ("Deftly, admiral…") (1948), A Walk After Dark (1948), The Shield of Achilles (1952), Bucolics (1953), Horae Canonicae (1949-54), On the Circuit (1963); Prose: Introduction to Faber Book of US Verse (see IS)3. Essays by Aidan Wasley, Michael Wood, Richard Bozorth, from Auden in Context, ed. Tony Sharpe (Cambridge University Press, 2013)4. Adrienne Rich, selection from A Change of World (1951)W. H. Auden, Yale Younger Poets Citation (1951)5. W. S. Merwin, selections from A Mask for Janus (1952), Green with Beasts (1956)W. H. Auden, Yale Younger Poets Citation (1952)6. John Ashbery, selection from Some Trees (1956), in Selected Poems (1986)7. John Hollander,selections from A Crackling of Thorns (1958) and Movie-Going (1962)W. H. Auden, Yale Younger Poets Citation (1958)8.James Merrill, selections from Water Street (1962) and Nights and Days (1966)9. Richard Wilbur, The Mind Reader (1976)10. Joseph Brodsky, Roman Elegies/Římské elegie; Essays: ‘To Please A Shadow’, ‘On "September 1, 1939" by W. H. Auden’

With the exception of Section 2 (Auden’s poems), all materials are now available to electronically on the IS.


The English poet W. H.

Auden arrived in the United States in 1939 and pace Philip Larkin who said that "At one stroke he lost his key subject and emotion," he became one of the most influential poets in the New World, a guiding spirit to figures as various as Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, Anthony Hecht, James Merrill, Richard Wilbur and others. He was also an influential intellectual figure, reviewing a wide range of books--from German theology to The Lord of the Rings--for the foremost periodicals of the time.

This course will begin with an examination of Auden’s poetry from the 1940s and ’50s, and then consider his reviews and essays, thus providing both the intellectual and poetic context to read the works of the abovementioned American poets.

Study programmes