W. H. AUDEN
Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) was a major English poet, probably the most important English-speaking poet born in the twentieth century. Noted especially for native lyrical gifts and highly developed technical expertise, he also displayed wide reading and acute intelligence in his poems. His life, about which a great deal of detail has come to light in the last two or three years, contains sharp contradictions. His early poems were praised for their political pertinency as well as their aesthetic modernity, and his later poems were condemned for their religious and political orthodoxy. Even when he had embraced certain kinds of religious orthodoxy, he continued to live what in many ways was an eccentrically bohemian life; but even in his most revolutionary, his most bohemian, or his least sober moments, he maintained a steady and highly productive work schedule, exemplifying if not always honoring the work ethic of the middle class. (Adapted from: Johnson, Richard. “W(ystan) H(ugh) Auden.” British Poets, 1914-1945, edited by Donald E. Stanford, Gale, 1983).