W. H. Auden's Book of Light Verse

W. H. Auden's Book of Light Verse

By W. H. Auden; Edward Mendelson (Preface by)

New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590170892, 553pp.

Publication Date: July 2004


Auden's celebrated anthology of light verse is packed with surprising finds while also offering a striking rethinking of the poetic canon. Commissioned by Oxford University Press in the 1930s, when Auden's own work was at its boldest, the book caught its original publisher off guard. For it is less a collection of humorous verses than a celebration of the popular voice in English, in which the work of great satirists like Swift and Byron keeps company with ballads, chanteys, ditties, nursery rhymes, street calls, bathroom graffiti, epitaphs, folk songs, vaudeville turns, limericks, and blues. Turning away from the post-Romantic cult of the sentimental lyric, Auden features poetry that is clear, enjoyable, and, no matter its age, absolutely modern.

This new edition includes previously censored poems, together with Auden's remarkable introduction and a new preface by his literary executor, Edward Mendelson.

About the Author
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is acknowledged as one of the great dramatists whose plays, work with the Berliner Ensemble and critical writings have had a considerable influence on the theatre. His landmark plays include "The Threepenny Opera", "Fear and Misery of the Third Reich", "The Life of Galileo, " "Mother Courage and Her Children "and "The Caucasian Chalk Circle."""""

Edward Mendelson is a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He is the literary executor of W. H. Auden's estate and the editor of Auden's complete works. Among his previous books are "Early Auden, Later Auden," and editions of novels by Anthony Trollope, George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, and Arnold Bennett. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.

Praise For W. H. Auden's Book of Light Verse

"This is one of the most delightful anthologies in English."
The Listener

"One of the liveliest and most original anthologies ever compiled."
Times Literary Supplement