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Transcript of W.H. Auden
Influences, Culture,and Time Period
His Poetry and Impact
As I Walked Out One Evening
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Bio and Background
Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York,England in 1907.
During his childhood he moved to Birmingham, where he grew up.
Auden died in 1973 in Vienna, Austria.
Stephanie Herr and Karly Crabaugh
"W. H. Auden." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 Dec 2013. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/w-h-auden>.
"W. H. Auden." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 10 Dec 2013. <http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/120>.
Despite this, at Oxford he studied English. He also became a notable member of the "Oxford Group" or "Auden Generation".
The Oxford Group/Auden Generation essentially refers to any British or Irish writers from the 1930s. Most of them went to Oxford and shared similarities in age and political views.
Auden's parents both had a huge impact on his poetry.
His father, a physician,was knowledgeable about myths and folklore. This sparked an interest in Auden at a young age. Mythology is prominent throughout his work.
His mother was a devoted Anglican.
This combination of religion and science is often exhibited in his writing.
Auden disliked the Romantic movement and was considered a Modernist poet.
Modernists preferred free verse and concrete, or literal, imagery.
Some notable qualities of Auden's poems are the inclusion of political, social, and psychological elements, as well as analyzing the human condition.
Auden's high level of intelligence helped to develop his technique and express his ideas.
Dr. Auden with John and Mrs. Auden with Wystan
Spanish War (1936-1939)
For a time, Auden was a choirboy, and claims his choir experience provided him with a sensitivity to language.
Auden with a friend and fellow poet, Benjamin Britten
"Spain" was one of his most famous pieces that told the story of his experiences during the country's civil war.
The conflict was between the republicans and nationalists.
The poem expresses how important and powerful Spain was before civil war and depicts its destruction.
Auden acquired an interest in science and engineering at a young age, and he originally planned to become an engineer.
Despite this,he studied English at Oxford.
During his time at Oxford, he became a notable member of the "Oxford Group".
This group of Modernist poets included Auden and three other popular poets and friends.
They were heavily inspired by T.S. Eliot.
They were nearly never all in a room together, but often collaborated individually on projects.
Auden with Cecil Day-Lewis and Stephen Spender
1930′s to 1980′s
Artistic movement which drew attention to the everyday conditions of the poor.
It was a period of political turmoil, hardships, and economic depression during the two World Wars.
September 1, 1939
German forces invaded Poland.
The Polish army was defeated.
World War II begins
Auden wrote a poem expressing how the world will forever be condemned if people cannot learn to accept and love others for their differences.
Many peace activists opposed the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
The Anti-war movement was initiated by college students.
They questioned America's involvement and wanted to pull out of the war.
Percisionism was an early American contribution to the rise of Modernism.
Celebrated the new landscape of skyscrapers, bridges, and factories.
Consisted of geometrical structures with clear outlines and surfaces.
Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values or realism.
Modernists typically wanted to break away from the traditional styles of art.
They wished to distinguish themselves so they experimented to create something new.
It expressed the imagination of the subconscious.
The artist combines unrelated images or events in a strange and dreamlike way.
As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.
And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
"Love has no ending.
"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet
river jumps over the mountain
the salmon sing in the street.
"I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.
"The years shall run like rabbits
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages
And the first love of the world."
But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.
"In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.
"In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.
"Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.
"O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.
"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead
beggars raffle the banknotes
Giant is enchanting to Jack
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer
Jill goes down on her back
"O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress;
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.
"O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart."
It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming
And the deep river ran on.
Love conquers all.
Begins with an unknown narrator passing by a lover singing to his significant other.
The lover firmly believes that their love will surpass time and last forever, for love is eternal -- a romantic ideal.
Exhibits this with emphasis on impossible examples.
The lover also implies that their love is different and special than other loves, and so unique that no one else could understand it.
Time conquers all.
A clock chimes in, denying previous claims.
With brutal honesty, the clock completely contradicts the lover, claiming that love cannot conquer time because time conquers all.
Auden makes time seem overbearing and heavy with the
inevitability of death
and the knowledge of this for the lovers. Time will eventually consume them.
He also makes it seem silly for them to think their love could actually be timeless.
... to link to the intimidating
Auden includes several
that exhibit things we viewed as children being completely different as adults.
Joys of childhood leave us with age.
After what the narrator has just witnessed - the lover's song about love being eternal and the clock arguing that time is more powerful than love - he forms his opinion.
The narrator sees that love can never last forever as long as time is in control.
Long after it has ended,
the only thing that is timeless is the ever-running river.