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The Age of AudenPostwar Poetry and the American Scene$
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Aidan Wasley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136790

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136790.001.0001

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Father of Forms

Father of Forms

Merrill, Auden, and a Fable of Influence

Chapter:
(p.77) 2 Father of Forms
Source:
The Age of Auden
Author(s):

Aidan Wasley

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691136790.003.0003

This chapter discusses Auden's influence on James Merrill. It suggests that Merrill looked to Auden as the guide who could instruct him and encourage him to enjoy the feast of the full range of poetic modes. Merrill would later begin that instruction, starting work on a new project that would aim to unite craft and sentiment, aesthetics and engagement, and whose vast ambition would more than encompass “what it all means, and what his neighbor feels.” That project was The Changing Light at Sandover, the poem that would rewrite Merrill's identity as a poet of epic scope and vision. The schoolmaster in Sandover's classroom and a central figure in the composition and narrative of the poem, was Auden.

Keywords:   James Merrill, W. H. Auden, American poets, American poetry, The Changing Light at Sandover

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