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The Plural of Us – Poetry and Community in Auden and Others - Princeton Scholarship Online
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The Plural of Us: Poetry and Community in Auden and Others

Bonnie Costello


This is the first book to focus on the poet's use of the first-person plural voice—poetry's “we.” Closely exploring the work of W. H. Auden, the book uncovers the trove of thought and feeling carried in this small word. While lyric has long been associated with inwardness and a voice saying “I,” “we” has hardly been noticed, even though it has appeared throughout the history of poetry. Reading for this pronoun in its variety and ambiguity, the book's author explores the communal function of poetry—the reasons, risks, and rewards of the first-person plural. The author adopts a taxonomic approac ... More

Keywords: first-person plural, poet, poetry, W. H. Auden, Walt Whitman, T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, togetherness, philosophy of language

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780691172811
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691172811.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Bonnie Costello, author
Boston University