Early Auden, Later Auden
A Critical Biography
With a new preface by the author
Presented in one volume for the very first time, and updated with new archival discoveries, Early Auden, Later Auden reintroduces Edward Mendelson's acclaimed, two-part biography of W. H. Auden (1907–73), one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. This book offers a detailed history and interpretation of Auden’s oeuvre, spanning the duration of his career from juvenilia to his final works in poetry as well as theatre, film, radio, opera, essays, and lectures.
Early Auden, Later Auden follows the evolution of the poet’s thought, offering a comparison of Auden’s views at various junctures over a lifetime. With penetrating insight, Mendelson examines Auden’s early ideas, methods, and personal transitions as reflected in poems, manuscripts, and private papers. The book then links changes in Auden’s intellectual, emotional, and religious experience with his shifting public role—showing the depth of his personal struggles with self and with fame, and the means by which these internal conflicts were reflected in his art in later years.
Featuring a new preface by the author, Early Auden, Later Auden is an engaging and timeless work that demonstrates Auden’s remarkable range and complexity, paying homage to his enduring legacy.
Edward Mendelson is the literary executor of the Estate of W. H. Auden, and the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. His books include Moral Agents, The Things That Matter, and Lives of the New York Intellectuals.