The essays in this collection were written as reviews, mainly for The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker, on books by or about Alexander Pope, Vincent van Gogh, Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, and A. E. Housman, or as introductions to editions of the classical Greek writers, the Protestant mystics, Shakespeare, Goethe, Kierkegaard, Tennyson, Grimm and Andersen, Poe, G. K. Chesterton, Paul Valéry, and others. Throughout, these prose pieces reveal the same wit and intelligence--as well as the vision--that sparked the brilliance of Auden's poetry.
About W. H. Auden
W. H. auden (1907-1973) was one of the wittiest and most worldly of English poetry's great twentieth century masters. His work ranges from the political to the religious, from the urbane to the romantic. He is also, with his exhilarating lyrical power and his understanding of love and longing in all their sacred and profane guises, an exemplary champion of human wisdom in its encounter with the mysteries of experience. More than any other poet, Auden used his poetry as an instrument to study the massive forces, dramas, and upheavals of the twentieth century, and his work displays an astonishing range of voice and breath of concern.