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New York SunWith the fifth volume of his 'Complete Works' and the third of his prose out—with a fourth, and final volume promised—we can glimpse almost the full range of [Auden's] interests and his remarkable versatility...When Auden felt affinity with a subject, his prose could dazzle. His essay here on Oscar Wilde, 'A Playboy of the Western World: St. Oscar, the Hominterm Martyr,' is at once poignant and astute, as is his fine introduction to a selection of Edgar Allan Poe's writings. But the best essay may be 'Portrait of a Whig,' Auden's searching and affectionate study of the inimitable Sydney Smith (1771?1845).
— Eric Ormsby