Lectures on Shakespeare
"W. H. Auden, poet and critic, will conduct a course on Shakespeare at the New School for Social Research beginning Wednesday. Mr. Auden has announced that in his course . . . he proposes to read all Shakespeare's plays in chronological order." The New York Times reported this item on September 27, 1946, giving notice of a rare opportunity to hear one of the century's great poets comment on one of the greatest poets of all time. Published here for the first time, these lectures now make Auden's thoughts on Shakespeare available widely.
Painstakingly reconstructed by Arthur Kirsch from the notes of students who attended, primarily Alan Ansen, who became Auden's secretary and friend, the lectures afford remarkable insights into Shakespeare's plays as well as the sonnets.
A remarkable lecturer, Auden could inspire his listeners to great feats of recall and dictation. Consequently, the poet's unique voice, often down to the precise details of his phrasing, speaks clearly and eloquently throughout this volume. In these lectures, we hear Auden alluding to authors from Homer, Dante, and St. Augustine to Kierkegaard, Ibsen, and T. S. Eliot, drawing upon the full range of European literature and opera, and referring to the day's newspapers and magazines, movies and cartoons. The result is an extended instance of the "live conversation" that Auden believed criticism to be. Notably a conversation between Auden's capacious thought and the work of Shakespeare, these lectures are also a prelude to many ideas developed in Auden's later prose--a prose in which, one critic has remarked, "all the artists of the past are alive and talking among themselves."
Reflecting the twentieth-century poet's lifelong engagement with the crowning masterpieces of English literature, these lectures add immeasurably to both our understanding of Auden and our appreciation of Shakespeare.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - TyUnglebower - LibraryThing
Far too pompous and long winded. Some accuse Auden of making things too common and accessible. Not only do I not agree that that is possible, I certainly do not agree he did it. Not in this book of ... Read full review
LECTURES ON SHAKESPEAREUser Review - Kirkus
Lectures on Shakespeare delivered by British poet and critic Auden in 1946 at the New School for Social Research in New York, carefully reconstructed by Kirsch from students' notes.While Auden ... Read full review
Henry VI Parts One Two and Three
The Comedy of Errors and The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Loves Labours Lost
Romeo and Juliet
A Midsummer Nights Dream
The Taming of the Shrew King John and Richard II
The Merchant of Venice
Measure for Measure
Antony and Cleopatra
Timon of Athens
Pericles and Cymbeline
Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V
Much Ado About Nothing
The Merry Wives of Windsor
As You Like It
Troilus and Cressida
Alls Well That Ends Well