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Juvenilia: Poems, 1922-1928

Overview

You know the terror that for poets lurks

Beyond the ferry when to Minos brought.

Poets must utter their Collected Works,

Including Juvenilia.. . .

—from "Letter to Lord Byron" (1936)

Regardless of how poets feel about their youthful attempts at verse, their early poems not only enrich our understanding of their artistic growth, but also reveal much about the nature of ...

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Overview

You know the terror that for poets lurks

Beyond the ferry when to Minos brought.

Poets must utter their Collected Works,

Including Juvenilia.. . .

—from "Letter to Lord Byron" (1936)

Regardless of how poets feel about their youthful attempts at verse, their early poems not only enrich our understanding of their artistic growth, but also reveal much about the nature of literary genius. No other twentieth-century poet has left behind such a wealth of early poetry as did W. H. Auden. By bringing together for the first time all the poems written by Auden between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one (1922-1928), this book allows us a rare, detailed look at the literary personality, development, and preoccupations of a major poet. Auden's readers will be fascinated to find in these poems the earliest evidence of his interest in psychoanalysis, his conflicted attitude toward his homosexuality, his self-conscious approach to poetry, and his life-long journey toward a religious sense of the world.

This collection includes over two hundred poems, most of them never published before, concluding with the contents of Auden's privately printed volume, Poems (1928). The poems are generously annotated with information on Auden's education, reading, literary concerns, and personal life. In her introduction, Katherine Bucknell traces important themes relating to the poet's entire career, and describes crucial but hitherto unknown aspects of his youth during his years at Gresham's School and at Christ Church, Oxford. Throughout this work we see in Auden an admirable instinct for experiment, a thorough testing of tradition, and a gathering mastery of technique and thematic argument.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - John Bayley
Katherine Bucknell has done an excellent job as an editor. . . . [Auden] would have acknowledged that this is the way scholarship should go about its job.
London Review of Books - Ian Hamilton
Auden's Poems (1930) [is] one of the century's most weirdly original first books. Thanks to Katherine Bucknell, we can now ponder in detail how he got there.
Chicago Tribune - Valentine Cunningham
As loving and meticulous and informing an edition as any writer, young or old, could wish for. . . . Watching Auden invent Audenesque is one of the many joys of this volume.
From the Publisher
"Katherine Bucknell has done an excellent job as an editor. . . . [Auden] would have acknowledged that this is the way scholarship should go about its job."—John Bayley, Times Literary Supplement

"Auden's Poems (1930) [is] one of the century's most weirdly original first books. Thanks to Katherine Bucknell, we can now ponder in detail how he got there."—Ian Hamilton, London Review of Books

"As loving and meticulous and informing an edition as any writer, young or old, could wish for. . . . Watching Auden invent Audenesque is one of the many joys of this volume."—Valentine Cunningham, Chicago Tribune

"Containing more than two hundred poems, the book chronicles Auden's progress from his first verses, written when he was fifteen years old . . . As one of the most complete and scrupulous accounts of a major poet's apprenticeship, it offers what amounts to a series of master classes in the development of poetic talent and the acquisition of rhetorical skill."Poetry

Times Literary Supplement
Katherine Bucknell has done an excellent job as an editor. . . . [Auden] would have acknowledged that this is the way scholarship should go about its job.
— John Bayley
London Review of Books
Auden's Poems (1930) [is] one of the century's most weirdly original first books. Thanks to Katherine Bucknell, we can now ponder in detail how he got there.
— Ian Hamilton
Chicago Tribune
As loving and meticulous and informing an edition as any writer, young or old, could wish for. . . . Watching Auden invent Audenesque is one of the many joys of this volume.
— Valentine Cunningham
Poetry
Containing more than two hundred poems, the book chronicles Auden's progress from his first verses, written when he was fifteen years old . . . As one of the most complete and scrupulous accounts of a major poet's apprenticeship, it offers what amounts to a series of master classes in the development of poetic talent and the acquisition of rhetorical skill.
Chicago Tribune

As loving and meticulous and informing an edition as any writer, young or old, could wish for. . . . Watching Auden invent Audenesque is one of the many joys of this volume.
— Valentine Cunningham
London Review of Books

Auden's Poems (1930) [is] one of the century's most weirdly original first books. Thanks to Katherine Bucknell, we can now ponder in detail how he got there.
— Ian Hamilton
Times Literary Supplement

Katherine Bucknell has done an excellent job as an editor. . . . [Auden] would have acknowledged that this is the way scholarship should go about its job.
— John Bayley
Poetry

Containing more than two hundred poems, the book chronicles Auden's progress from his first verses, written when he was fifteen years old . . . As one of the most complete and scrupulous accounts of a major poet's apprenticeship, it offers what amounts to a series of master classes in the development of poetic talent and the acquisition of rhetorical skill.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This posthumous publication, scrupulously edited and annotated by Bucknell, includes all of the still extant poems written by Auden (Selected Poems) between the ages of 16 and 22. The poems reveal Auden very deliberately cultivating influences: Walter de la Mare, W.H. Davies, Edward Thomas, Thomas Hardy, T.S. Eliot. If the work itself is unremarkable (though the poems in the manner of Thomas have a certain blandly ingenuous charm), it is still exhilarating to see just how quickly Auden learned from and, at least on the terms of technique, even surpassed his teachers. But what was he to use his phenomenal formal gifts for? Intelligently augmented by passages from his correspondence, Juvenilia shows him finding a cryptic, allusive language, at once intimate and hortatory, which allowed his intelligence free play and helped to transform the social and personal alienation he felt as a homosexual into a source of imaginative authority. But in another sense, the book suggests reasons for Auden's later decline: the prodigiously clever schoolboy, possessed of much information and an astounding technical facility, but emotionally adrift, seems the forerunner of the prematurely aged wise man, who, no longer gratified by his own amazing powers, resigned himself to having opinions and playing tricks in verse. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691102818
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/6/2003
  • Series: W.H. Auden: Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: Expanded Paperback Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,105,007
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xi
ABBREVIATIONS xv
INTRODUCTION xix
TEXTUAL NOTE liii
POEMS
California 3
A Moment 4
The Blind Lead the Blind 5
Pardon 5
Dawn ('Far into the vast the mists grow dim') 6
On Seeing Some Dutch Pictures 6
Joy 7
Envoi ('You go') 7
Envoi No. 2 ('You go') 8
The Circus 8
Everest 9
Dream 10
February Dawn 11
A Rainy Afternoon 11
The Coming of Love 12
Nightfall ('Cool whisper of the trees') 12
Envoi ('Take up your load and go, lad') 13
To a Toadstool 14
To a Field-mouse 14
To a Small Buddha 15
On a Greek Tomb Relief 15
After Reading Keats' Ode 15
Belief 16
Sonnet ('This world is full of lovely things') 16
A Tale 17
Early Morning Bathing 19
Woods in Rain 20
Appletreewick 21
The Sower 22
The Lost Secret 22
Prayer 23
Autumn 24
The Dragon-fly 25
To a Child in Tears 25
November at Weybourne 26
Finis 28
Bawbcc 29
The Old Lead-mine 29
The Old Mine 31
March Song 31
Alston Moor 32
Skyreholme Mill 33
i. By Day ii. By Night
September 34
The Plane Tree 34
Speech 35
Dawn ('On the cold waterfall, the flush of dawn gleams bright') -36
Song ('Past all your knowing') -36
March Winds 37
The Mill 37
Two Triolets 38
The Last Time 38
By the Fire 39
The North 39
We Sat 40
My Lady of the Wood 41
March 42
Envoi ('From the red chimneys smoke climbs slow and straight') 43
Song ('I have a little book') 44
Arthur's Quoit, Dyffryn 44
In the Nursery 45
Christ in Hades 46
Sonnet I ('There was desolate silence on the world') 47
Sonnet II ('It matters not that we shall cease to be') 47
Vision 48
Stone Walls ('Where do they travel to') 49
The Owl 50
Farglow 51
Inn Song 51
The Miner's Wife 52
In a Train 53
Rookhope (Weardale, Summer 1922) 54
The Cat 54
By the Gasworks, Solihull 55
The Robin 55
Early Morning ('Perched on a nettled stump he stands') 56
The Walk 57
Elegy ('Why was it that you gave us no warning') 57
The Old Colliery 59
The Rookery 60
After the Storm 61
The Tarn 62
Before ('I mark not without') 63
Buzzards 64
'There is so much that I can share with you' 65
After the Burial 66
The Traction-engine 67
J. S. Bach 67
The Candies Gutter Low 68
'Though thy rafters are grown rotten' 69
Allendale 70
At Parting ('Under the lamp's exhausted glare') 71
The Engine House 72
'Since the Autumn day' 73
The Pumping Engine, Cashwell 74
'Whenever I see for the first time' 75
The Mail-train, Crewe 76
'So I must go my way' 78
He Revisits the Spot 78
'The dew steams off the thatches' 79
'Now from far eastern wolds, the bay' 79
Nightfall ('As ghosts peer over a bedroom curtain') 80
Skyreholme Mill ('The mill-wheel never seems to tire') 80
Stone Walls ('One almost takes a hedge for granted') 81
'Like other men, when I go past' 82
'The crocus stars the border' 83
Damming Stream 8-3
Sunday Morning 84
A Visit 85
The Hidden Lane (Near Selbrigg, March 1925) 8-5
April in a Town 87
The Mill (Hempstead) 87
Elegy ('A wagtail splutters in the stream') 90
job 91
Richard Jefferies 92
The Sawmill 93
'Below me Ticknall lay but in the light' 94
'The Road's Your Place' 95
Landscape 96
The Dying House 96
Friendship 97
The Sunken Lane 98
Punchard 98
To E. T. 100
The Canal, Froghall 100
Song ('The merriest cuckoo') 101
Sonnet ('April is here but when will Easter come?') 102
Memento Creatoris Tui 103
Earth's Praises 104
Daily Bread 104
The Dark Fiddler 106
Maria hat geholfen 107
Sunshine 108
Autumn Evening 108
The Carter's Funeral 109
Rain 110
Ina Country Churchyard in
The Gipsy Girl 112
Frost 113
Flowers and Stationmaster 114
Ploughing 115
Helen 116
'At last, down in the lane' 117
Christmas Eve 118
Trippers I 19
Progress 121
Waste 121
Alone 122
Motherhood 123
On Receiving a Christmas Card 124
The Photograph of a Boy in Costume 124
At the Maison Lyons 125
An Episode 125
Song ('The crocus stars the border') 126
Lead's the Best 127
Felo de se 130
Dethroned 130
April 131
The Letter 132
Chloe to Daphnis in Hyde Park 134
Thomas Prologizes 136
Pride ('Love's specious information') 139
At Parting ('Though Time now tears apart') 140
Portrait 141
Amor Vincit Omnia 142
Yes and No 143
Cinders 143
Thomas Epilogizes 146
Humpty Dumpty 149
Lovers' Lane 153
Bank Holiday 156
Last Bus, Saturday Night 160
Song ('Relation seemed ordained for us') 161
First Meeting 162
Consequences 162
In Due Season 164
Early Morning ('Earth rolls these houses out into the sun') 16.5
Tea-time in November 166
The Happy Tree 167
Winter Afternoon 168
Say Yes! 169
Ballad 169
The Last of the Old Year 171
Before ('Unkempt and furtive the wind crawls') 172
Encounter 174
After 175
Day-dreams of a Tourist I
The Evolution of the Dragon 177
Pride ('When Little Claus meets Big Claus in the road') 180
Quique Amavit 181
Easter Monday 183
Narcissus 185
Hodge Looks toward London 188
Aware 191
Bach and the Lady 192
Extract 193
'Out of sight assuredly, not out of mind' 194
The Megalopsych 199
I. 'The sprinkler on the lawn'
II. "'The Megalopsych," says Aristotle'
III. '"Buzzards!" I heard you say'
IV. 'Squatting Euclid drew in sand'
V. 'The oboe notes'
VI. 'Consider, if you will, how lovers lie'
VII. 'Amoeba in the running water'
VIII. 'Upon the ridge the mill-sails glow'
IX. 'I wake with a dry mouth'
'The sprinkler on the lawn' 205
(a) 'The sprinkler on the lawn'
(b) 'Bones wrenched, weak whimper, lids wrinkled, first dazzle known'
(c) 'We saw in Spring'
(d) 'This peace can last no longer than the storm'
(e) "'Buzzards" I heard you say'
(f) 'Consider if you will how lovers stand'
(g) 'Amoeba in the running water'
(h) 'Upon the ridge the mill-sails glow'
'I chose this lean country' 210
'On the frontier at dawn getting down' 214
'No trenchant parting this' 215
'Truly our fathers had the gout' 216
'We, knowing the family history' 217
'Who stands, the crux left of the watershed' 218
'Suppose they met, the inevitable procedure' 220
'The crowing of the cock' 221
'Nor was that final, for about that time' 224
'Deemed this an outpost, I' 225
'Because sap fell away' 227
'The mind to body spoke the whole night through' 229
'From the very first coming down' 231
'The four sat on in the bare room' 232
'The houses rolled into the sun' 234
'The colonel to be shot at dawn' 234
'To-night when a full storm surrounds the house' 235
'The weeks of blizzard over' 236
'Light strives with darkness, right with wrong' 238
'Control of the Passes was. he saw, the key' 239
'Taller to-day, we remember similar evenings' 240
'The spring will come' 241
'The summer quickens grass' 242
'"Grow thin by walking and go inland"' 243
'Some say that handsome raider still at large' 244
'Often the man, alone shut, shall consider' 245
'To throw away the key and walk away' 246
'The Spring unsettles sleeping partnerships' 248
'No, not from this life, not from this life is any' 249
APPENDIX 'Rotation' by 'Mystan Baudom' 251
INDEX 253

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