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The Table Talk of W.H. Auden - Softcover

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9780571165674: The Table Talk of W.H. Auden
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In New York, between 1946 and 1948, the scholar and poet Alan Ansen made rapid notes of Auden's inimitable conversation. This book is a record of Auden's private, offhand and sometimes wayward remarks and opinions about art, literature, music, politics, religion and sexuality.

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Review:
This is the second volume of the late poet's reported speech. The first, Conversations with Auden by Howard Griffin and edited by Donald Allen, appeared from Grey Fox Press in 1981. The collectors of both appear to have kept in mind the famous example of Johann Peter Eckermann's Conversations with Goetbe in the Later Years of His Life, with the interviewer playing a minor role and letting the great man hold forth at length. Neither is a collection of verbatim interviews; both were accomplished before the use of the tape recorder. Of the two, Ansen's book is the more wide-ranging and accurate in capturing Auden's wit and speech. Whereas Griffin's book is largely political and literary, Ansen displays Auden's knowledge of such disparate subjects as pumping stations, murders, cats, classical and jukebox music, arithmetic textbooks, the Vatican, and coal mines. Often his opinions are outrageous: Mozart's music does not hold up well, Thomas Jefferson was a great bore, and Yeats's last poems are merely competent. But throughout one senses Auden was a good and honest man: "I think that poetry is fundamentally frivolous," he says. "I do it because I like it. The only serious thing is loving God and your neighbor." If one agrees with Auden's critical intent, that "criticism should be a casual conversation," this slender volume is an illuminating and vital document. -- From Independent Publisher

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  • PublisherFaber and Faber Ltd
  • Publication date1991
  • ISBN 10 0571165672
  • ISBN 13 9780571165674
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages135
  • Rating
    3.94 avg rating
    ( 36 ratings by Goodreads )

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9780865380721: The Table Talk of W.H. Auden

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Publisher: Ontario Review Pr, 1990
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