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W H Auden
- Favourite Briton.

Born in York, North Yorkshire
Born on 21st of February 1907
Died on 29th of September 1973

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'Five minutes on even the nices'... More

Born in York as Wystan Hugh in 1907, WH Auden became renowned as a much-travelled poet, essayist and playwright until his death in Vienna in 1973. Initially following the styles of Romantic poets such as Wordsworth, he later developed his style by studying the likes of Dante and noted satirist Alexander Pope. After his death he reached widespread prominence when his poem ‘Funeral Blues’ (known colloquially by its opening line “stop all the clocks”) was used movingly in the Richard Curtis film Four Weddings And A Funeral, but his vast catalogue of work varies from lyrics for a Broadway musical (‘Man Of La Mancha’, although his contributions were never used) to short poems and plays, as well as stints teaching in Michigan and New York. He was also Professor of Poetry at Oxford University for a five-year period.
His most famous poems include September 1, 1939, Dover, In Memory Of WB Yeats and the aforementioned Funeral Blues, and variously covered themes as disparate as the intransigence and inconsistency of love (most notably in The More Loving One) in relationship to his homosexuality, reportage on the Spanish Civil War, philosophy, politics and religion. In later life he began collaborating with Chester Kallman on a series of libretti for opera, and Auden even commented that working with a literary partner gave him “greater erotic joy... than any sexual relations I have had.” However, in the years before his death companions noticed a significant drop in his coherence and intelligence, but his legacy remains.

Links: The Auden Society

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On this day:
The Last public hanging - 1868, Prince of Wales Opens Vauxhall Bridge - 1906, British Find Oil in Persia - 1908, First Female Magistrate Appointed - 1913, First ever Glyndebourne - 1934
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