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Collected Poems (Modern Library) Hardcover – February 13, 2007
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This collection presents all the poems Auden wished to preserve, in the texts that received his final approval. It includes the full contents of his previous collected editions along with all the later volumes of his shorter poems. Together, these works display the astonishing range of Auden's voice and the breadth of his concerns, his deep knowledge of the traditions he inherited, and his ability to recast those traditions in modern times.
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'When it comes,will it come without warning/ Just as I'm picking my nose?/ Will it knock on my door in the morning;/ Or tread in the bus on my toes?/ Will it come like a change in the weather?/ Will its greeting be courteous or rough?/ Will it alter my life altogether?/ O tell me the truth about love.'
Auden talks about not only love but also truth, justice, every part of the human experience. Here's a short part of "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.'
I cannot find words strong enough to convey how powerful, and how human, this work is.
By the way, in his original 'selected works' Auden re-edited several of his most beloved works - many critics said for the worse. In this particular edition the editor included all of the poems that Auden selected as his best, but in their original forms.
The matter of revision is more serious, but what was a responsible editor to do? Mendelson might have printed both original and revised versions, but the volume is already over 900 pages, and most readers don't even notice the minor tinkering Auden sometimes did with wording. (We may notice that Auden deleted stanzas from "Summer Night" and "In Memory of W. B. Yeats," but how many Auden fans are aware that "Lullaby" was lightly revised? And who is to say that the revisions were always unwarranted?) Or, Mendelson might have added a "notes" section indicating where Auden made changes after initial publication. Or, he could have added the excised poems in an appendix. None of these solutions is really suitable given the aims of the volume. There had to be a volume that represented the author's final wishes about his works, and this is it.Read more ›
In regards to the book itself, it was tastefully put together, and is a definite asset to any poetry collection. The font and paper stock are smooth and refined, making the poetry easy to read in varying degrees of light. The poems are arranged in a roughly chronological order...once again, the way that Auden himself preferred.
Considering that I own a number of old volumes of Auden's poetry --including first editions-- I can assure any potential buyer that Mendelson took no liberties with this volume. I wish other collections could claim the same.
"Ah, to find a book of a certain Wystan Hugh,
Is to find a gem in a field of residue;
It has been a long time coming, but in my hands I hold
A paper book of Auden, worth its weight in gold"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent compilation of the works of one of the 20 Century's most respected poets.Published 1 month ago by Cyril J. Stocker
Good collection of his poems, will take time to reall all of them.Published 1 month ago by Theodore A. Conter
Enjoyed reading through this last night, especially the poems toward the back of the book, which are/read a little less "Greatest Hits" and perhaps less quotable than the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by None
Read for one of my English classes. I can't remember all of the details but I remember enjoying it. Some great poems in this book for sure. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ashley Wo
This is not a deluxe edition of the poems though at nearly 1000 pages one that gave each poem its unique page would create a wrist sprainer or require two volumes. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Garth R. Mailman
For me, only Shakespeare has a greater poetic and literary mind and imagination than Auden.
Since his death, Auden's reputation has continued to skyrocket - he now stands at... Read more