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W. H. Auden: Selected Poems (Vintage International) [Paperback]

W H Auden , Edward Mendelson


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Book Description

5 April 2007 Vintage International
This significantly expanded edition of W. H. Auden’s Selected Poems adds twenty poems to the hundred in the original edition, broadening its focus to better reflect the enormous wealth of form, rhetoric, tone, and content in Auden’s work. Newly included are such favorites as “Funeral Blues” and other works that represent Auden’s lighter, comic side, giving a fuller picture of the range of his genius. Also new are brief notes explaining references that may have become obscure to younger generations of readers and a revised introduction that draws on recent additions to knowledge about Auden.

As in the original edition, the new Selected Poems makes available the preferred original versions of some thirty poems that Auden revised later in life, making it the best source for enjoying the many facets of Auden’s art in one volume.


Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; Reprint edition (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307278085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307278081
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 626,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A First Auden, better than ever 26 Dec 2008
By Rico - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Over four Christmases, this title sat on my Amazon wish list, ignored by my wife. This year, I bought it myself and let her wrap it for me. How lucky that, while my wish for this book sat ungranted, Edward Mendelson added explanatory notes and twenty poems to his original selection. The additional poems in this "Expanded Edition" include the lovely "Funeral Blues," whose recitation in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" provided most of that movie's emotional heft and social import.

The poems that Mendelson, Auden's literary executor, selected for this volume are printed here in their first book-published versions. Mendelson also edited Auden's "Collected Poems," from which Auden himself excluded some poems and for which he revised others. Mendelson discusses the choice between "Selected Poems" and "Collected Poems" in the Introduction to this book:

"The present selection ... [reprints] the texts of Auden's early editions and [includes] poems that he later rejected. A historical edition of this kind, one that reflects the author's work as it first appeared in public rather than his final version of it, is not intended as an argument that Auden's revisions or rejections were arbitrary or misguided; he had strong literary and ethical motives for choosing them, and in almost every instance they produced versions of his poems that were more coherent and complex than the originals. Probably the best way to experience Auden's work is to read the early versions first for their greater immediate impact, and the revised versions afterward for their greater subtlety and depth. For most readers this book will be a First Auden, and the edition of his 'Collected Poems' that was published posthumously according to his final intentions may be recommended as a Second."
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of Auden's poetry 19 Feb 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
W.H. Auden was a twentieth century English poet. He emphasized the individual, past and present, in their frail condition.

Auden's writing varied as to subject, style, and type as he aged. Love poems, politics, culture, morals, individuals; what a wealth of poetry the public has from Auden because of the number of years he lived and wrote. Twenty poems have been added to this expanded edition including some of Auden's lighter poems. This aids the reader, student, or lover of Auden to see a more complex, complete, fuller and well-rounded poet.

A nice touch within the volume was the inclusion of brief notes explaining references that might be unclear. Other positive features consisted of chronological arrangement of material, and an index of titles and first lines.

Armchair Interviews says: A must for all Auden students, whether a casual reader or lover of his poetry.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Start from the back 10 July 2010
By L. Jordan Bickel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The poems are arranged chronologically. I started at the front and got stuck - the language is thick and too abstracted for my taste. I almost gave up on him, but decided to read his later stuff before putting it down. I then read the book back to front and enjoyed his material from the 1960's the very best. I'm glad I didn't give up. My suggestion, start from the back.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A passionate soul 23 Aug 2009
By G Erdwhile - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
WH Auden is one of the most beautiful writers and poets on love and loss, deeply intellectual, inherently questioning, this collection from evocative countryside penscapes to beautiful, beautiful words on relationships and the inner turmoil and joy they cause. This book is essential to anyone who knows and loves Auden or has yet to meet the vibrant passions within his words.
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 1 Jan 2014
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the revised edition of a selection of Auden's poems. Both this edition and the original selection were prepared by Auden's literary executor, Edward Mendelson. The original edition contained 100 poems. This edition adds 20 poems, including some of Auden's lighter work, to give a broad prespective on Auden's work. Potential readers need to be aware of 2 important features of this selection. While there are some selections from some of Auden's longer works, the full texts of most longer poems are necessarily excluded. Later in life, Auden revised parts of some poems and even omitted some well known poems from his collected works. Mendelson chose the earliest texts for this book. The selected poems include all of Auden's most famous work and cover the whole breadth of his career.

This book is simply wonderful reading. Auden is one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and one of the greatest in the English language. His wonderfully controlled use of and variety of language, moral vision, wit, and unobtrusive erudition are peerless among modern poets. For anyone wishing to read more Auden, I also recommend the Collected Works.
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