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Presentation on theme: "W. H. AUDEN."— Presentation transcript:


2 Historical Background
Wystan Hugh Auden Born in York, England, in 1907; moved to Birmingham during childhood; educated at Christ's Church, Oxford. Influenced by the poetry of Hardy, Frost, Blake, Dickinson, and Old English Poems. His poetic skill became apparent during his study at Oxford. He also formed lifelong friendships with two fellow writers, Stephen Spender and Christopher Isherwood.

3 Historical Background
In 1928, Auden published his first book of verse, and his collection Poems, published in 1930, established him as the leading voice of a new generation. Admired for his: - unsurpassed technical ability - ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form - the incorporation in his work of popular culture, current events, and vernacular speech - vast range of his intellect

4 Historical Background
He established his reputation as a left-wing political poet and prophet in England. He abandoned this style after he moved to the United States in His poems in the 1940s explored religious and ethical themes in a less dramatic manner than his earlier works. W. H. Auden was a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1954 to 1973, and divided most of the second half of his life between residences in New York City and Austria. He died in Vienna in 1973.

5 Auden’s Style Unlike ‘modern’ poet like Eliot and Pound who experimented with forms, ideas, and concepts. Auden’s style is human-like, very personal. His poems show despair and yet some sort of hope in the beauty of things, and also in a religious feeling of sorts. When you read Auden it’s not for the beauty of the poems, but because you know that here is a poet who really reflects the way you think.

6 Auden’s Style Auden's modernity, rather than Modernity, comes through in the technical aspect of the poems. Auden's technical skills are awesome. He's a counter to all those people who imagine that they can just write out something and call it poetry. His works are mostly in formal poetic forms – ballads, sonnets, quatrains, and rhymes. The goal is simple, he thinks it’s the best means to communicate with the readers.

7 Musee Des Beaux Arts About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; how well, they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, there always must be Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating On a pond at the edge of the wood: They never forgot That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

8 Musee Des Beaux Arts

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