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Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem$
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Michael O'Neill

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122852.001.0001

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Making and Faking: W. H. Auden

Making and Faking: W. H. Auden

Chapter:
(p.259) 10 Making and Faking: W. H. Auden
Source:
Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem
Author(s):

Michael O'Neill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122852.003.0010

This chapter focuses on Auden who, at first sight, might appear to be steadfastly anti-Romantic in his refusal to make major claims for poetry, especially in his later work. Yet Auden's insistence on poetry as a game should not disguise the fact that it is a game that he plays very seriously indeed. As ‘A way of happening’, poetry, for Auden, matters as much for how it says what it says as for any extractable message. Poets may not be ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the World’ for Auden as they were for Shelley, but in their care over what they are doing with language they serve as valuably ‘Ironic points of light’.

Keywords:   W. H. Auden, Shelley, poets

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