Biography of W.H. Auden.

Essay by DitzyAngel911College, Undergraduate April 2003

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W.H. Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden was born in 1907 in York, England to George Augustus Auden, a distinguished physician, and Rosalie (Bicknell) Auden. He was educated at St. Edmund's Hindhood and then at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk. In 1925 he entered Christ Church, Oxford where his studies and writing progress without much success: he received a disappointing third-class degree in English and had his first collection of poems rejected by T.S. Eliot at Faber & Faber.

In 1928 he moved to Berlin where he was first introduced to the psychological theories of Homer Lane.

After returning to England Auden taught at a prep school, privately in London, at Larchfield Academy, a boys' school in Helensburgh, and at Downs School, Colwall, Herefordshire.

In 1930 he published his first book of verse called "Paid on Both Sides", and in the same year his collection Poems. The poems were short, untitled and slightly cryptic.

Auden soon gained fame as a leftist intellectual. This established him as a leading voice of a new generation that was admired for his technical virtuosity and ability to write poems in every imaginable verse form. He was known for his vast range of intellect and the popular culture, current events and extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms and political theories that he incorporated into his work. He showed interest in Marx and Freud and he wrote passionately on social problems, in Look, Stranger! (1936).

In 1935 Auden married Thomas Mann's daughter Erika Mann, a lesbian actress and journalist so that she could get a British passport.

He then toured around China, Germany and Iceland, and served in the Spanish Civil war. These experiences he recorded in "Spain" (1937). In 1939 he moved to the United States, where his beliefs changed dramatically when his central preoccupation became Christianity...