Later Auden

Edward Mendelson

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999
ISBN 10: 0374184089 / ISBN 13: 9780374184087
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Synopsis: This definitive study of the poetry of W.H. Auden, from 1939 to 1973, offers the history of his poems, and of the events that went into them, from the time Auden moved to the United States to his death, completing the story begun in Mendelson's acclaimed "Early Auden".

Review: Edward Mendelson was handpicked by W.H. Auden as his literary executor. As the man who has overseen every posthumous edition of the poet's work, Mendelson has an intimate understanding of Auden's writings that few can match. While Later Auden is, of course, in one sense a sequel to Early Auden, it is also complete unto itself, and although it does contain some biographical elements, it is not strictly speaking a biography--more a work of literary criticism informed by biography. Thus, while beginning with Auden's 1939 arrival in the United States from his native England, Mendelson immediately launches into an extended analysis of the poem "In Memory of W.B. Yeats," which in turn leads to a discussion of Auden's conception of the poetic "gift" in battle with his intellect. Ample space is given throughout the book for Auden's poetry and prose, revealing rather than describing his views on politics, literature, sexuality, and other issues. But Mendelson is always careful to show how, even when Auden is positioning himself at his most detached, the writings are always informed by his life's circumstances. Later Auden (along with its companion volume) is probably the closest we shall ever come to an indispensable guide to Auden's work--and perhaps the next best thing to reading the poems themselves.

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Title: Later Auden
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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