Overview: This lecture presents the early poetry of W.H. Auden. In "From the Very First Coming Down," Auden's relationship to the reader is considered, as well as the role of economy, truth, and morality in his poetics. The political Auden is examined in "Spain" and "September 1, 1939," along with his later practice of revising controversial poems. Finally, his interest in traditional forms, his vision of love, and his characteristic perspectivism, are explored in "This Lunar Beauty" and "As I Walked Out One Evening."
This course covers the body of modern poetry, its characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners. The authors discussed range from Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost with additional lectures on the poetry of World War One, Imagism, and the Harlem Renaissance. Diverse methods of literary criticism are employed, such as historical, biographical, and gender criticism.