The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue

The Age of Anxiety A Baroque Eclogue When it was first published in The Age of Anxiety W H Auden s last longest and most ambitious book length poem immediately struck a powerful chord capturing the imagination of the cultural mo

  • Title: The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue
  • Author: W.H. Auden Alan Jacobs
  • ISBN: 9780691138152
  • Page: 440
  • Format: Hardcover
  • When it was first published in 1947, The Age of Anxiety W H Auden s last, longest, and most ambitious book length poem immediately struck a powerful chord, capturing the imagination of the cultural moment that it diagnosed and named Beginning as a conversation among four strangers in a barroom on New York s Third Avenue, Auden s analysis of Western culture during theWhen it was first published in 1947, The Age of Anxiety W H Auden s last, longest, and most ambitious book length poem immediately struck a powerful chord, capturing the imagination of the cultural moment that it diagnosed and named Beginning as a conversation among four strangers in a barroom on New York s Third Avenue, Auden s analysis of Western culture during the Second World War won the Pulitzer Prize and inspired a symphony by Leonard Bernstein as well as a ballet by Jerome Robbins Yet reviews of the poem were sharply divided, and today, despite its continuing fame, it is unjustly neglected by readers.This volume the first annotated, critical edition of the poem introduces this important work to a new generation of readers by putting it in historical and biographical context and elucidating its difficulties Alan Jacobs s introduction and thorough annotations help today s readers understand and appreciate the full richness of a poem that contains some of Auden s most powerful and beautiful verse, and that still deserves a central place in the canon of twentieth century poetry.

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      W.H. Auden Alan Jacobs

    About Author

    1. Wystan Hugh Auden was an Anglo American poet, best known for love poems such as Funeral Blues, poems on political and social themes such as September 1, 1939 and The Shield of Achilles, poems on cultural and psychological themes such as The Age of Anxiety, and poems on religious themes such as For the Time Being and Horae Canonicae He was born in York, grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle class family He attended English independent or public schools and studied English at Christ Church, Oxford After a few months in Berlin in 1928 29 he spent five years 1930 35 teaching in English public schools, then travelled to Iceland and China in order to write books about his journeys In 1939 he moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1946 He taught from 1941 through 1945 in American universities, followed by occasional visiting professorships in the 1950s From 1947 through 1957 he wintered in New York and summered in Ischia from 1958 until the end of his life he wintered in New York in Oxford in 1972 73 and summered in Kirchstetten, Austria.Auden s poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with politics, morals, love, and religion, and its variety in tone, form and content He came to wide public attention at the age of twenty three, in 1930, with his first book, Poems, followed in 1932 by The Orators Three plays written in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood in 1935 38 built his reputation as a left wing political writer Auden moved to the United States partly to escape this reputation, and his work in the 1940s, including the long poems For the Time Being and The Sea and the Mirror, focused on religious themes He won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his 1947 long poem The Age of Anxiety, the title of which became a popular phrase describing the modern era In 1956 61 he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford his lectures were popular with students and faculty and served as the basis of his 1962 prose collection The Dyer s Hand.From around 1927 to 1939 Auden and Isherwood maintained a lasting but intermittent sexual friendship while both had briefer but intense relations with other men In 1939 Auden fell in love with Chester Kallman and regarded their relation as a marriage this ended in 1941 when Kallman refused to accept the faithful relation that Auden demanded, but the two maintained their friendship, and from 1947 until Auden s death they lived in the same house or apartment in a non sexual relation, often collaborating on opera libretti such as The Rake s Progress, for music by Igor Stravinsky.Auden was a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays, and other forms of performance Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential, and critical views on his work ranged from sharply dismissive, treating him as a lesser follower of W.B Yeats and T.S Eliot, to strongly affirmative, as in Joseph Brodsky s claim that he had the greatest mind of the twentieth century After his death, some of his poems, notably Funeral Blues, Mus e des Beaux Arts, Refugee Blues, The Unknown Citizen, and September 1, 1939, became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films, broadcasts, and popular media.

    One thought on “The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue

    1. The Age of Anxiety is one of Auden s greatest works, indeed probably one of the greatest poems of the Twentieth Century, but I do think the popular verdict is correct It is a poem that is fittingly respected than loved The poem is not sure what genre it is, which makes it both jungly diverse and plain cacophonous I don t know enough about poetic forms to catch all of the references, but it is at least simultaneously a medieval quest dream poem, an oblique account of World War II, a landscape po [...]

    2. Any difficulty in understanding cannot be laid at the feet of the author That said, I won t claim perfect comprehension, but I consider it worthwhile to read I was only because of Leonard Bernstein that I knew about this poem, so I have him to thank Now it s on to the symphony.The soliloquy by Rosetta is a high point.

    3. Ho guardato dalle finestre di un Mondo caduto, i nostalgici, piccoli, ostinati singhiozziDelle cose precipitate nell esistenza p 167

    4. The Age of Anxiety A Baroque Eclogue which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1948 is a long poem in 6 parts, by W H Auden, written mostly in a modern version of Anglo Saxon alliterative verse The poem deals, in eclogue a poem in a classical style on a pastoral subject form, with man s quest to find substance and identity in a shifting and increasingly industrialized world Set in a wartime bar in New York City on All Soul s night, Auden s four characters Quant, a shipping clerk Rosetta, a buye [...]

    5. most under rated of all the late audens written in alliterative icelandic old english meters transmogrified into anxious etiolate mongrel doggerel.

    6. Auden s power most often comes from his respect for simplicity His talents are incredible, his vocabulary is humbling, but he forces them to submit to his tidy English sensibility This book was enjoyable because he was so obviously letting loose In the end, I don t think it really works, large sections of it are too dense to make sense of unless, I suppose, you re part of an elite literary circle But other parts of it are radiant and every bit the equal of Death s Echo or Leap Before You Look Li [...]

    7. The conversations sparked by attempting to make sense of this poem were far interesting than the poem itself Auden was clearly writing for a self contained audience that was both fascinated by its own cleverness and deluded into thinking it actually had anything in common with and could speak to the average person.

    8. In understanding the underpinnings of us,anxiety seems an appropriate axiom Alliterationresonates too every era another repetitionof days wonderful for work and for war.

    9. I have wanted to read this book since I became interested in early English alliterative verse Auden s book is one of the few examples of narrative alliterative poetry in modern English, and in general it is a very unique poem The only thing I ve read that is even somewhat similar is T.S Eliot s The Wasteland with which it shares a bleak, Modernist landscape, a reflection of the horrors of modern warfare, and an anxiety over the alienation of 20th century society.Alliterative verse was the primar [...]

    10. The writing is often magnificent and, really, unsurpassable, but in passages of a stanza or in groups of several lines What use is this book as a book, as an entire statement Because Auden certainly intended it to have a use it s a classification, a Pilgrim s Progress, an anatomy, a taxonomy of the state of human affairs and culture after World War II There s a wonderful introduction by Alan Jacobs wonderful not insistent, but not rambling , which makes it clear that Auden s classifications of t [...]

    11. This is such a difficult poem, I m sure I will be reading it again But even with it s difficulty especially part 3, which is a Jungian allegorical journey it is such a beautiful sounding poem For instance, here s one section that when read aloud is just amazing Hushed is the lake of hawksBright with our excitement,And all the sky of skullsGlows with scarlet roses The melter of men and saltAdmires the drinker of iron Bold banners of meaningBlaze o er the host of days.This Auden wrote in an Icelan [...]

    12. It seems everyone whose really tried to review this book, including the person who wrote the forward, would like to say this complex work just doesn t work overall.

    13. I enjoyed this new edition which I discovered on the new books shelf of my local library Glad to have the introduction and the annotations I d never heard of this work before, let alone read any of it, so it felt like an adventure to me I ve only read wee bits of Auden up until now I now want to read .I m interested in learning about long poems as verse plays and or novels Whatever you want to call them I also enjoyed very much Auden s use of the Anglo Saxon alliterative form I think it worked g [...]

    14. A very challenging read for me The only thing I can liken it to is attempting to read mainstream writing in a foreign language for the first time I was able to generally understand the overall story by piecing together meaning from familiar words but was certain I was missing subtlety and nuance This is a book I will need to return to but will do so willingly.

    15. I really have no idea what is going on in part three, The Seven Stages, and a quick dip into the secondary literature seems to indicate that I am not alone Ambitious some lovely passages, some haunting images.

    16. It was interesting for a lot of reasons I was surprised by its connection with another book I read recently The Denial of Death.

    17. I only half read it I kind of liked it, but didn t get too into it It s required reading and the end of the semester, so sorry Auden I d probably like you better on my own terms.

    18. Auden at his most masterful He is in utter command of the rhythm and diction of the work throughout, and the sheer volume of the alliteration of which he makes use is staggering.

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