New in our Store…Reflections on the Poetry of W.H. Auden
We have added an new item to our catalog of recorded presentations from Gil Bailie’s audio archives – Reflections on the Poetry of W.H. Auden. This 2 part series recorded in January 1990 explores a number of Auden’s poems beginning with selections from the War Sonnets (or Sonnets from China). In the 1930’s W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood visited China under the auspices of their British publishers to report on the Sino-Japanese war.
Mr. Bailie also provides insights on the poem September 1, 1939 (the date of Hitler’s invasion of Poland). The current war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion lends a stark backdrop to Auden’s poems in this series. Gil Bailie quotes the critic A. T. Tooley that, for Auden…“faced at the end of the decade (of the 30’s) with the full horror of power, even in what he felt to be a just cause (like the Republican cause in Spain) the only road for Auden away from his ambivalence towards power was acceptance of humility and self-effacement as higher values. And the way to this was through Christianity.”
(Note: W. H. Auden frequently edited, often making substantial changes, the text of his poems. Gil Bailie is using in these talks a published collection that contains earlier versions of some poems.)
Listen to an excerpt: