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Auden, W. H.

W. H. Auden: (Wystan Hugh Auden) (ô´dən), 1907–73, Anglo-American poet, b. York, England, educated at Oxford. A versatile, vigorous, and technically skilled poet, Auden ranks among the major literary figures of the 20th cent. Often written in everyday language, his poetry ranges in subject matter from politics to modern psychology to Christianity. During the 1930s he was the leader of a left-wing literary group that included Christopher Isherwood and Stephen Spender. With Isherwood he wrote three verse plays, The Dog beneath the Skin (1935), The Ascent of F6 (1936), and On the Frontier (1938), and Journey to a War (1939), a record of their experiences in China. He lived in Germany during the early days of Nazism, and was a stretcher-bearer for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.

Auden's first volume of poetry appeared in 1930. Later volumes include Spain (1937), New Year Letter (1941), For the Time Being, a Christmas Oratorio (1945), The Age of Anxiety (1947; Pulitzer Prize), Nones (1951), The Shield of Achilles (1955), Homage to Clio (1960), About the House (1965), Epistle of a Godson and Other Poems (1972), and Thank You, Fog (1974). His other works include Letters from Iceland (with Louis MacNeice, 1937); the libretto, with his companion Chester Kallman, for Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress (1953); A Certain World: A Commonplace Book (1970); and The Dyer's Hand and Other Essays (1968).

In 1939, Auden moved to the United States, he became a citizen in 1946, and beginning that year taught at a number of American colleges and universities. From 1956 to 1961 he was professor of poetry at Oxford. Subsequently he lived in a number of countries, including Italy and Austria, and in 1971 he returned to England. He was awarded the National Medal for Literature in 1967.

See his Collected Poetry (1945), Collected Shorter Poems, 1927–1957 (1967), and Collected Longer Poems (1969); E. Mendelson, ed., The Complete Works of W. H. Auden (8 vol., 1997–); biographies by C. Osborne (1979, repr. 1995), H. Carpenter (1981), E. Mendelson (2 vol., 1981–99), and R. Davenport-Hines (1996) and Auden in Love (1984) by D. Farnan; studies by S. Hynes (1977, repr. 1982) and E. Callan (1983).

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Auden, W.H.

Auden, W.H. ( Wystan Hugh) (1907–73) Anglo-American poet, b. England, one of the major poets of the 20th century. Auden's first volume of poetry, Poems (1930), established him as the leading voice in a group of left-wing writers, which included Stephen Spender, Louis MacNeice, Cecil Day-Lewis, and Christopher Isherwood. Auden and Isherwood collaborated on a series of plays, such as The Ascent of F6 (1936). Auden joined the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War and wrote Spain (1937). In 1939 he emigrated to New York, becoming a US citizen in 1946. His volume The Age of Anxiety (1947) won a Pulitzer Prize. From 1956 to 1961, he was professor of poetry at Oxford University. Auden's poetry adopts many tones, often utilizing colloquial and everyday language. His later poetry is more serious and epistolary, reflecting his conversion to Anglicanism. Auden's Collected Poems was published in 1976.

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Auden, W(ystan) H(ugh)

Auden, W(ystan) H(ugh) (b York, 1907; d Vienna, 1973). Eng.-born poet (Amer. cit.) and librettist. Wrote lib. for Britten's first opera Paul Bunyan (1941) and, with Chester Kallman, for Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress (1951), and Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers (1961) and The Bassarids (1966).

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