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W.H. Auden

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by

Jared Stewart

on 5 May 2016

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Transcript of W.H. Auden

Author Biography
Auden was born in 1907 and was raised in Northern England
Auden attended Oxford and became familiar with modernist poetry particularly that of T. S. Elliot
He then left England in 1939 and became a citizen of the United States
His first book as an emigrant "Another Time"(1940) contains some of his best known poems
Musee Des Beaux Arts
The poem's title refers to the Museam of Fine Arts in Brussels, an institution Auden visited in 1938
While there he viewed a painting of the classic tale of
Icarus
, the canvas the poem refers to in detail
Poem Details continued
Examines the tendency for daily life to continue on its routine course even in the presence of tragedy and sorrow
poem focuses on The Fall of Icarus, a 16th century painting by Pieter Brueghel in which the ill-fated Icarus falls to his death, attracting little notice from those in the immediate vicinity
Organization of Poem
Poem is written in a loose based rhyme scheme
This allows the author to illuminate the poem's meaning without being constricted by strict ryhme schemes
Works Cited
"Musée des Beaux Arts." Poetry for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski and Mary Ruby. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 147-163. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 May 2016.
Auden's literary style
Auden deploys a range of verbal devices to construct a point of view adrift in a social and existential vacuum without substance.

Literary Criticism
1. http://www.modernamericanpoetry.org/criticism/jim-benz-wh-audens-speaker-musee-des-beaux-arts

2. https://ezp.tccd.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/216774051/fulltext/E1640E94A0AF4291PQ/1?accountid=7079
Wystan Hugh (W.H.) Auden
Musee Des Beaux Arts
Musee Des Beaux Arts
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
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