From Library Journal
This is the first volume in a new series on Auden that is striving to present the most accurate editions of his work. To that end, the publisher has based this text on original manuscripts that were edited by Mendelson, who is the literary executor of Auden's estate. This initial installment includes all the prose he wrote while living in England as well as the travel titles, Letters from Iceland and Journey to a War. This edition also sports numerous photographs and a scholarly introduction and notes.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Auden seems to be creeping back into contemporary consciousness, thanks partly to the recent work of biographers, memoirists, and now this volume in Princeton's series of his complete writings. Concentrating on the early prose but also including poetry inspired directly by his trips to Iceland and China, the compendium is staggering for its record of the writer's still-less-than-fashionable play of intelligence. Auden reveals himself here as first and last a maker who would approach almost any written form with that preoccupation. Short book reviews, radio talks, political reportage, campy vignettes, scathing send-ups of far-north culinary likes--Auden was just as good at describing the taste of Icelandic cured shark as he was at writing "In Defense of Gossip" or at proposing a reassessment of the poetry of Pope. Although his mind was steeped in tradition, Auden exhibited a remarkably free range within that tradition to elaborate, invent, or simply amuse himself. And in our era, when more poets seem to be writing prose now than once did, Auden's contributions also continue to show us how much further we have to go. Molly McQuade