W H Auden's notebook of poetry and prose c. 1946–65


This manuscript notebook, written by W H Auden between 1946 and 1965, includes numerous drafts of his poetry and prose works. This fragment contains several working drafts of his poem ‘Tonight at Seven Thirty’, which was included in the collection The Shield of Achilles (1955). The poem reflects upon the social practice of the dinner party and its long history; as Auden puts it:

Only man
supererogatory beast,
Dame Kind's thoroughbred lunatic, can
do the honors of a feast
and was doing so
before the last Glaciation when he offered

The drafts show different working versions of the poem, including changes in the order of the stanzas, deletions and additions.

Included in this notebook are drafts for the verse commentary that Auden wrote for the film documentary Runner (1962). Runner, directed by Don Owen, focused on the figure to the Canadian athlete Bruce Kidd. Auden spoke the commentary for the black-and-white documentary, which follows Kidd training on the streets of Toronto.

Full title:
WYSTAN HUGH AUDEN: notebook of poetry and prose; c. 1946-1965
c. 1946–65
Manuscript / Notebook / Draft
W H Auden
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© Copyright by the Estate of W. H. Auden. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.

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

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

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