Auden was born in
York in 1907 and he was educated in Oxford.
He was a prominent member of a group of young leftist writers who expressed a socially viewpoint while continuing the artistic revolution begun by earlier writers such as James Joice, Ezra Pound.
After Oxford he lived for a
time in Berlin. He went back to England but
he continued to visit Germany regularly and he was in Spain during
the Spanish Civil War. He wrote Poems, The Orators, Look Stranger
with Isherwood . In 1935 he married Erika Mann. In 1937 he received
King George’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
Auden emigrated to the United States in 1939. n 1940 he published Another Time, The Double Man, For the time being. In 1956 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford and he divided his later years between Oxford and Vienna where he died in 1973.
Auden was deeply pessimistic about the spiritual condition of the modern man. He is also concerned about the human indifference towards the pain of a man. He welcomed the force and vitality of the modern world. Auden’s subject was above all the present moment. In fact for Auden the past was no better than the present because the same problems had always existed. His poetry employed a wide variety of old metrical and verse forms. In fact he did not accept that the forms of the past were dead.
But at the same time he refused idealising the past. There is also in the poetic of Auden the revival of tradition, in fact he thought that formal restrictions could help him for objectivity and lucidity. His language is usually simple. But beneath this apparent simplicity Auden generally constructs a complex moral and philosophical debate. He uses classical metrical forms but on the contrary the lexicon he proposes is quite modern.