'Some Notes on Auden's Early Poetry' in New Verse, 1937

Description

In this article, the novelist and dramatist Christopher Isherwood, a lifelong friend of W H Auden, discusses the themes and influences underpinning Auden’s early verse. The article was published in a special ‘Auden Double Number’ in New Verse, an influential literary magazine edited by the poet Geoffrey Grigson.

According to Isherwood, there are three aspects of Auden’s biography which are crucial to understanding his work: his scientific interest and training; his love of music and the ceremonial aspect of religion; and his Scandinavian ancestry, which inspired his love of Icelandic legends and Old Nordic sagas.

Auden and Isherwood met when they were schoolboys and collaborated in several literary projects during the 1930s. During the years he spent as an undergraduate at Oxford, Auden often sent his works to Isherwood for comment and advice.

Auden Double Number

Many well-known writers, among them several of Auden’s friends and acquaintances such as Stephen Spender, Graham Greene, Louis MacNeice, and Dylan Thomas, wrote articles for the issue. The existence of this double number celebrating Auden’s literary achievements, which was published when the poet was just 30 years old, is evidence of his standing as the leading poet of his generation. In the cover, the editorial describes Auden as ‘the first English poet in many years who is a poet all the way round…He is traditional, revolutionary, energetic, inquisitive, critical, and intelligent’.

Full title:
'Some Notes on Auden's Early Poetry' for the Auden Double Number in New Verse, 1937
Published:
1937
Format:
Note
Creator:
New Verse ,
Usage terms

Christopher Isherwood: Copyright © Katherine Bucknell and Don Bachardy 2012, used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

Anonymous photographer: This material is in the Public Domain.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
P.P.5126.bh.

Full catalogue details

Related articles

'Musée des Beaux Arts', 'Their Lonely Betters' and 'The Shield of Achilles'

Article by:
John Sutherland
Theme:
Literature 1900–1950

John Sutherland describes the life of W H Auden and takes a look at three of his poems.

An introduction to 'Stop all the clocks'

Article by:
Seamus Perry
Theme:
Literature 1900–1950

'Funeral Blues', also known as 'Stop all the Clocks', is perhaps now most famous for its recitation in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, but its first audience encountered it as part of a play. Seamus Perry discusses the poem and its place in The Ascent of F6, co-authored by W H Auden and Christopher Isherwood.

Among friends: little magazines, friendship and networks

Article by:
Richard Price
Theme:
Art, music and popular culture

Looking at examples such as The Germ and Blast, Richard Price examines the defining characteristics of little magazines and their legacy within literature, art, and culture.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

'Musee des Beaux Arts'

Created by: W H Auden

W H Auden was in Brussels in 1938. As he explains in a letter of 31 August to his friend Mrs Dodds – wife of ...

'The Shield of Achilles'

Created by: W H Auden

W H Auden’s ‘The Shield of Achilles’, written in 1952, is also the title poem of the collection in ...

'Their Lonely Betters'

Created by: W H Auden

‘Their Lonely Betters’ is a short, four-stanza lyric poem by W H Auden. It was probably written in 1950, ...

'Lullaby'

Created by: W H Auden

In the words of John Fuller, this poem – one of W H Auden’s most highly regarded love lyrics – ...