Instructor: Prof. Dr. Kawther Mahdi
Course Title: Modern English and American Poetry
Wystan Hugh Auden
Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York, England, in 1907. He moved to Birmingham during childhood and was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. As a young man he was influenced by the poetry of Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost, as well as William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Old English verse. At Oxford his precocity as a poet was immediately apparent, and he formed lifelong friendships with two fellow writers, Stephen Spender and Christopher Isherwood. In 1928, his collection Poems was privately printed, but it wasn't until 1930, when another collection titled Poems (though its contents were different) was published, that Auden was established as the leading voice of a new generation. Auden first gained attention in 1930 when his short verse play called ''Paid on Both Sides'' was published in T. S. Eliot's periodical The Criterion. In the same year appeared Auden's Poems, his first commercially published book, in which he carefully avoided Yeatsian romantic self-expression – the poems were short, untitled, slightly cryptic, but free of philosophical abstraction. The collection had a powerful influence on Auden's peers, including Stephen Spender, Cecil Day-Lewis, and Louis MacNeice. Auden soon gained fame as a leftist intellectual. He showed interest in Marx and Freud and he wrote passionately on social problems, among others in Look, Stranger! (1936). However, by 1962 he argued that art and politics were best kept apart, stating in his essay 'The Poet and the City' that "All political theories which, like Plato, are based on analogies drawn from artistic fabrication are bound, if put into practice, to turn into tyrannies." Compressed figures of speech, direct Statement and musical effect characterized On This Island (1937) and Another Time (1940). In the late 1930s Auden's poems were perhaps less radical...