W.H. Auden was the greatest English poet of the twentieth century. It is nearly fifteen years since his last biography, and the publication and discovery of a mass of new material now makes possible a bold reappraisal of his life and work. Auden wrote about the anguish and bafflement of the twentieth century. This biography is not only a study of the life and ideas of a great poet, but a commentary on the wars, ideologies, spiritual questioning and sexual attitudes of the century in which he lived. 'Unless I write something, anything, good, indifferent, or trashy, every day, I feel ill,' Auden once said. His biography is therefore a study of a man who was supremely dedicated as a writer - a model of what it means to be a poet - and is also a book which delves into and examines Auden's immensely challenging theories of living. Auden is a book about play and fun and teasing; about the redemptive power of love; about political violence; Christianity and existentialism; shame, suffering and penitence; literary coteries in Europe and the United States; lust, addictions and self-destruction. Above all, Davenport- Hines's elegant, readable, and scholarly biography is a book for our times.
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Richard Davenport-Hines was born in 1953 and lives in London. His first book was awarded the Wolfson Prize for History and Biography in 1985. His more recent books include Sex, Death and Punishment (1990), The Macmillans (1992) and a literary anthology, Vice (1993). He is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, and has contributed to numerous periodicals and newspapers including the Independent on Sunday, the Observer, and the Sunday Times.
Auden by R. P. T. Davenport-Hines
R. P. T. Davenport-Hines
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