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THEMES OF W.H. 
AUDEN’S POETRY 
{ 
SAMI UL HAQ 
M PHIL LITERATUR 2ND SEMESTER 
LAHORE LEADS UNIVERSITY, LAHORE
 Born 1907 in England 
 Died 1973 in Austria 
 Anglo- American 
Writer 
 Poet 
 School and University 
teacher 
 Mar...
 Friend and lover of 
Christopher Isherwood 
 Witnessed Spanish civil 
War 
 Visited Sino-Japanese 
war “A Journey to W...
 Eliot was successor of 
Yeats and Auden was 
Eliot’s successor. 
 His poetic works 
divided into three 
periods 
 Earl...
 1ST period Wordsworth’s 
Romanticism+Rural style 
like Charles Dicken and 
T.S.Eliot style 
 Poems of 1St period are 
...
 War Poetry 
 2nd period 
 Rediscovered 
Anglicanism 
 Poems about 
theological and history 
 Poems “Canzone” 
 “kir...
 3rd Period 
 “About the House” in 
1965 
Published in total 
about 400 poems. 
W.H. AUDEN :POETRY 
(CONTD)
 Love 
 Religion 
 Politics and social 
concerns 
 Citizenship 
THEMES
 War 
 Death 
 Modern horrors 
 Totalitarianism 
THEMES CONTINUED
 These Poems deals 
with basic theme of 
love 
 “As I Walked out One 
Evening”, 
 “Lullaby”, 
 “O Tell Me the Truth 
A...
In the last stanza of “September 1, 1939” he 
says: 
"We must love one another or die," 
 In poem “The More Loving One” h...
 In 1940 he reconverted 
to Christianity, he 
wrote about religion 
these poems have 
religious theme: 
 “For the Time B...
 Age of political 
turmoil 
 Spain civil war, 
(fascism – Marxism ) 
 Sino- Japanese war 
 “The Age of Anxiety” 
 “Jo...
 He married Erika 
Mann, 
unconsummated love 
for the purpose of 
providing her with 
British passport, 
citizenship, to ...
 “The Unknown Citizen” 
 “Refugee Blues” 
Came to a public meeting; the speaker got 
up and said 
"If we let them in, th...
 War Poetry 
 Auden visited 
Germany with “US 
Strategic Bombing 
Survey” 
 Sino- Japanese war 
 Spanish Civil War 
 ...
 "I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second 
Street Uncertain and afraid 
As the clever hopes expire 
Of a low dishonest ...
 Auden’s unpublished diary September 1, 
1939: 
"Such a beautiful evening and in an hour, 
They say, England will be at w...
 “In the Memory of 
W.B.Yeats” 
 “In the Memory of 
Sigmund Freud” 
 “Musee Des Beaux Arts” 
(Museum of fine Arts). 
 ...
 “Musee Des Beaux Arts” (Museum of fine 
Arts) 
 This poem says: 
“About suffering they were never wrong,/ 
The old Mast...
 Age of Hitler, 
Mussolini, Stalin, and 
Franco 
 “The Unknown 
Citizen” 
 “The Shield of 
Achilles” 
 “Friday’s Child...
 Auden’s poetry is anti-romantic with anti-heroic 
themes, having manifold aspects and 
themes; he was against totalitari...
"We must love 
one another or 
die," 
MESSAGE
QUESTION AND 
ANSWERS
W H Auden's poetry themes
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W H Auden's poetry themes

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W H Auden's poetry themes

  1. 1. THEMES OF W.H. AUDEN’S POETRY { SAMI UL HAQ M PHIL LITERATUR 2ND SEMESTER LAHORE LEADS UNIVERSITY, LAHORE
  2. 2.  Born 1907 in England  Died 1973 in Austria  Anglo- American Writer  Poet  School and University teacher  Married Erika Mann (unconsummated love) W.H. AUDEN : INTRODUCTION
  3. 3.  Friend and lover of Christopher Isherwood  Witnessed Spanish civil War  Visited Sino-Japanese war “A Journey to War”  Moved to America in 1939  Become a US subject in 1946 W.H. AUDEN : INTRODUCTION (CONTD)
  4. 4.  Eliot was successor of Yeats and Auden was Eliot’s successor.  His poetic works divided into three periods  Early wok (1922-1939)  Middle Period (1940- 1957)  Later Works (1958- 1973) W.H. AUDEN :POETRY
  5. 5.  1ST period Wordsworth’s Romanticism+Rural style like Charles Dicken and T.S.Eliot style  Poems of 1St period are  Poems of 1928  Drama “Paid on both sides” and 30 poems in 1933 (Collective theme Family Ghosts) W.H. AUDEN :POETRY
  6. 6.  War Poetry  2nd period  Rediscovered Anglicanism  Poems about theological and history  Poems “Canzone”  “kiros and Logos”  “A Walk after Dark”  “The Love Feast”  “Love Feast”  “The Fall of Rome” W.H. AUDEN :POETRY (CONTD)
  7. 7.  3rd Period  “About the House” in 1965 Published in total about 400 poems. W.H. AUDEN :POETRY (CONTD)
  8. 8.  Love  Religion  Politics and social concerns  Citizenship THEMES
  9. 9.  War  Death  Modern horrors  Totalitarianism THEMES CONTINUED
  10. 10.  These Poems deals with basic theme of love  “As I Walked out One Evening”,  “Lullaby”,  “O Tell Me the Truth About Love”,  and “Funeral Blues” THEME: LOVE
  11. 11. In the last stanza of “September 1, 1939” he says: "We must love one another or die,"  In poem “The More Loving One” he says: “If equal affection cannot be Let the more loving one be me” THEME LOVE: CONTINUED
  12. 12.  In 1940 he reconverted to Christianity, he wrote about religion these poems have religious theme:  “For the Time Being“  "The Ballad of Barnaby“  "Song of the Devil" THEME: RELIGION
  13. 13.  Age of political turmoil  Spain civil war, (fascism – Marxism )  Sino- Japanese war  “The Age of Anxiety”  “Journey to War” THEME: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONCERNS
  14. 14.  He married Erika Mann, unconsummated love for the purpose of providing her with British passport, citizenship, to shelter her from the Nazi’s crimes. THEMES: CITIZENSHIP
  15. 15.  “The Unknown Citizen”  “Refugee Blues” Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said "If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread": He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me. THEMES: CITIZENSHIP (COTINUED)
  16. 16.  War Poetry  Auden visited Germany with “US Strategic Bombing Survey”  Sino- Japanese war  Spanish Civil War  “Journey to a War”  “September 1, 1939” THEME: WAR
  17. 17.  "I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade". Message of this poem: "We must love one another or die," THEME WAR (CONTINUED)
  18. 18.  Auden’s unpublished diary September 1, 1939: "Such a beautiful evening and in an hour, They say, England will be at war," THEME WAR (CONTINUED)
  19. 19.  “In the Memory of W.B.Yeats”  “In the Memory of Sigmund Freud”  “Musee Des Beaux Arts” (Museum of fine Arts).  “Funeral Blues” “Let aero planes circle moaning overhead/ Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead” THEME: DEATH
  20. 20.  “Musee Des Beaux Arts” (Museum of fine Arts)  This poem says: “About suffering they were never wrong,/ The old Masters: how well they understood/ Its human position: how it takes place” These sufferings include : Unfaithfulness, sickness, time , greed , religious doubt, war ,and other hardships. THEMES: MODERN HORRORS
  21. 21.  Age of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Franco  “The Unknown Citizen”  “The Shield of Achilles”  “Friday’s Child”  Refugee Blues, and  “September 1, 1939”. THEMES:TOTALITARIANISM
  22. 22.  Auden’s poetry is anti-romantic with anti-heroic themes, having manifold aspects and themes; he was against totalitarianism and fascism, major themes of his poems are love, politics and social concerns, citizenship, religion, war, death, modern sufferings and totalitarianism. Through his poetry he convey a silent message: CONCLUSION
  23. 23. "We must love one another or die," MESSAGE
  24. 24. QUESTION AND ANSWERS

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