Forewords and Afterwordsby W. H. Auden
The essays in this collection were written as reviews, mainly for The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker, on books by or about Alexander Pope, Vincent van Gogh, Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, and A. E. Housman, or as introductions to editions of the classical Greek writers, the Protestant mystics, Shakespeare, Goethe, Kierkegaard, Tennyson, Grimm and Andersen, Poe, G. K. Chesterton, Paul Valéry, and others. Throughout, these prose pieces reveal the same wit and intelligenceas well as the visionthat sparked the brilliance of Auden's poetry.
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