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 was born in 1907 and went to Oxford University, where he became Professor of Poetry from 1956 to 1960. After the publication of his Poems in 1930, he became the acknowledged leader of the 'thirties poets'. His poetic output was prolific, and he also wrote verse plays in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood, with whom he visited china. In 1946 he became a U.S. citizen. He died in 1973.