"Yet no one hears his own remarks as prose." - At a Party
Early Auden remains the most penetrating, detailed, and informative examination we have of the great work produced by the young W. H. Auden in England before the war. Edward Mendelson writes with unrivaled knowledge of published texts, manuscripts, private papers, and essays in this most illuminating of critical works.
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.
The Complete Works of W.H. Auden
(W. H. Auden; Edward Mendelson, Editor)
This book contains all the essays and reviews that W. H. Auden wrote during the years when he was living in England, and also includes the full original versions of his two illustrated travel books, Letters from Iceland (written in collaboration with Louis MacNeice) and Journey to a War (written in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood). Auden's early prose ranges from extravagant indiscreet travel diaries through sharply observed critiques of writers from John Skelton to Winston Churchill. It includes studies of Communism and Christianity; audaciously wideranging essays on literature, psychology, and politics; and writings about gossip, sex, prisons, and schools.
W. H. Auden
This is an indispensable reference guide to the works of one of the most important poets of the twentieth century. W. H. Auden's writing is notoriously complex--full of puzzling allusions and shaped by influences as diverse as Old English poetry and Auden's own theory of psychosomatic illness. To help readers understand Auden's work, the poet and scholar John Fuller examines all of Auden's published poems, plays, and libretti, leaving out only some juvenilia. In unprecedented detail, he reviews the works' publishing history, paraphrases difficult passages, and explains allusions. He points out interesting variants (including material abandoned in drafts), identifies sources, looks at verse forms, and offers critical interpretations. Along the way, he presents a wealth of facts about Auden's works and life that are available in no other publication.