W.H. Auden's Book of Light Verse

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New York Review of Books, 2004 - 553 pages
Auden's celebrated anthology of light verse is packed with surprising finds while also offering a striking rethinking of the poetic canon. Commissioned by Oxford University Press in the 1930s, when Auden's own work was at its boldest, the book caught its original publisher off guard. For it is less a collection of humorous verses than a celebration of the popular voice in English, in which the work of great satirists like Swift and Byron keeps company with ballads, chanteys, ditties, nursery rhymes, street calls, bathroom graffiti, epitaphs, folk songs, vaudeville turns, limericks, and blues. Turning away from the post-Romantic cult of the sentimental lyric, Auden features poetry that is clear, enjoyable, and, no matter its age, absolutely modern.

This new edition includes previously censored poems, together with Auden's remarkable introduction and a new preface by his literary executor, Edward Mendelson.
 

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Contents

Section 1
40
Section 2
51
Section 3
52
Section 4
80
Section 5
82
Section 6
83
Section 7
87
Section 8
92
Section 24
212
Section 25
235
Section 26
237
Section 27
248
Section 28
258
Section 29
259
Section 30
265
Section 31
270

Section 9
103
Section 10
110
Section 11
123
Section 12
128
Section 13
142
Section 14
156
Section 15
160
Section 16
165
Section 17
184
Section 18
186
Section 19
193
Section 20
202
Section 21
205
Section 22
207
Section 23
211
Section 32
279
Section 33
280
Section 34
282
Section 35
283
Section 36
312
Section 37
338
Section 38
359
Section 39
375
Section 40
396
Section 41
404
Section 42
414
Section 43
469
Section 44
491
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

W.H. Auden (1907-1973) was an English poet, playwright, and essayist who lived and worked in the United States for much of the second half of his life. His work, from his early strictly metered verse, and plays written in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood, to his later dense poems and penetrating essays, represents one of the major achievements of twentieth-century literature.

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