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Modern English War Poetry$
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Tim Kendall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562022.001.0001

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W. H. Auden's Journeys to War

W. H. Auden's Journeys to War

(p.106) 6 W. H. Auden's Journeys to War
Modern English War Poetry

Tim Kendall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the war poetry of W. H. Auden. Much of Auden's poetry of the late 1930s is defined by journeys to and from war. Although his decision to stay in New York after the outbreak of the Second World War attracted imputations of cowardice and betrayal, until then Auden had actively sought war zones. Each of Auden's wars (including the Great War, which ended when he was 11) profoundly affected his poetry. But his treatment of them eschews specifics: the world, Auden argued in 1939, ‘has no localized events’, and all people ‘In all their living are profoundly implicated’.

Keywords:   war poetry, W. H. Auden, journeys, war zones, Great War, Spanish Civil War

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