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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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Auden in “Atlantis”

Auden in “Atlantis”

(p.1) Prologue Auden in “Atlantis”
The Age of Auden

Aidan Wasley

Princeton University Press

This chapter first details W. H. Auden's arrival in New York in January 1939. His emigration from England, and his arrival in America marked a crucial moment in twentieth-century literary history, when the heir apparent to T. S. Eliot as the dominant presence in British poetry abandoned his English career and retraced Eliot's own path back across the Atlantic to start anew. The impact of that moment, and Auden's subsequent American career, are still being felt in American poetry seven decades later. The chapter then discusses his poem “Atlantis,” where he invokes the myth of the lost utopia, to illustrate what he calls “a poetic vision” of art's capacity for moral instruction, even as it recognizes its limitations.

Keywords:   W. H. Auden, American poets, American poetry, emigrant, America, emigration

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