Cover image for W.H. Auden : a commentary
W.H. Auden : a commentary
Fuller, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xvi, 613 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"First published in Great Britain in 1998 by Faber and Faber"--T.p. verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6001.U4 Z694 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The description for this book, W. H. Auden: A Commentary, will be forthcoming.

Author Notes

John Fuller is a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he teaches English. He is also a poet and novelist. His collection Stones and Fires won the 1996 Forward Prize

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

This mammoth, accessible study ties the life of major English poet W.H. Auden to his ideas, and both to his poetry. MendelsonÄa Columbia University professor who is also Auden's literary executorÄpicks up where his Early Auden left off, in 1939, when Auden emigrated to the United States. He sees in Auden two kinds of poetry, which he calls "myth" and "parable." The first stresses the impersonal and the aesthetic; the second, the voluntary and the ethical. Auden's best poems represent or acknowlege both; his weaker work adheres to one or the other. This intriguing interpretive scheme gets necessarily submerged as Mendelson tracks Auden's voluminous output, his life and his rapidly-shifting ideas. Throughout his writing life Auden's deepest beliefs changed frequently, sometimes faster than he could finish the poems he meant to embody them. (Some beliefs were strange indeed: in 1940 Auden thought that he had been granted true loveÄin the form of longtime companion Chester KallmanÄas a reward for his childhood attachment to lead-mining machinery.) Most usefully, Mendelson has read what Auden read, finding in now-neglected thinkers (Charles Williams, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, R.G. Collingwood, F.J.E. Raby and Owen Barfield) the seeds of this omnivorous and idiosyncratic poet's changes. Auden's successive reversals and self-repudiations can be dizzying; Mendelson's clear prose and copious citations do their best to help readers hang on. His focus on Auden's long poems and his defense of Auden's very late "domestic" poems will send many readers back to them. And the poet's own amply quoted manuscripts will give most readers one more source of pleasure: "You're so good," he tells one intimate, "and I'm a neurotic middle-aged butterball." (Apr.) FYI: John Fuller's W.H. Auden: A Commentary, published last year, is an exhaustive reader's companion to Auden's work. (Princeton Univ. $35 640p ISBN 0-691-00419-6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When British poet Fuller published his Reader's Guide to W.H. Auden (LJ 5/15/70), it was widely praised for its scholarship, organization, and completeness. Fuller, a professor of English at Oxford, knew then that further Auden discoveries were yet to be made; hence this masterfly latest work. Like the earlier book, this is an essential source for understanding so much that is Auden: Anglo-Saxon and Old English influences, allusions, form, and interpretation. An invaluable update, it includes not only Auden's collected and some uncollected poetry beginning in the late 1920s but also his plays, libretti, and (of substantial interest to Auden aficionados) some unused draft material. Fuller's commentary is erudite but also practical in revealing Auden as a complex, demanding poet and human being. Recommended for public and academic libraries.‘Robert Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Fuller's Commentary on the poems of W.H. Auden has been a standard reference guide since its original publication more than 25 years ago. Weighing in at nearly twice the size of the original, this exceptionally competent revision details publishing history, explains private as well as public allusions, and drops the previous edition's coy expurgations vis-a-vis Auden's homosexuality. Fuller is precise, informative, and immensely clear. He provides generous notes on the later poems and on the more difficult early ones. This reviewer cannot imagine a more useful book on Auden for any academic library. Highly recommended. D. A. Barton California State University, Long Beach

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Poems (1928)p. 3
Paid on Both Sidesp. 18
Uncollected Poems 1925-30p. 36
Poems (1930)p. 52
Poems (1933)p. 78
The Oratorsp. 85
The Dance of Deathp. 123
The Dog Beneath the Skinp. 126
Look, Stranger!p. 145
Uncollected Poems 1930-36p. 178
The Ascent of F6p. 193
Letters from Icelandp. 202
Alfredp. 225
Hadrian's Wallp. 227
Journey to a Warp. 230
On the Frontierp. 245
Another Timep. 249
Uncollected Poems 1937-39p. 296
The Dark Valleyp. 305
Paul Bunyanp. 308
The Double Manp. 319
For the Time Beingp. 345
The Sea and the Mirrorp. 356
The Age of Anxietyp. 369
Poems first published in the Collected Poetry (1945)p. 388
Nonesp. 405
Uncollected Poems 1940-48p. 431
The Rake's Progressp. 436
Deliap. 440
The Shield of Achillesp. 443
Homage to Cliop. 463
Elegy for Young Loversp. 481
About the Housep. 484
The Bassaridsp. 504
City Without Wallsp. 508
Academic Graffitip. 527
Epistle to a Godsonp. 529
Thank You, Fogp. 544
Uncollected Poems 1949-73p. 554
Index of Titles and First Linesp. 558
General Indexp. 575