W. H. Auden (1907-1973) was born in North Yorkshire, England, the son of a doctor. He studied at Oxford and published his first book, Poems, in 1930, immediately establishing himself as one of the outstanding voices of his generation. Auden emigrated to New York in 1939, where he became a US citizen and converted to Anglicanism. He wrote essays, critical studies, plays, and opera librettos for such composers as Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, and Hans Werner Henze, as well as the poems for which he is most famous. EDWARD MENDELSON is the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and the literary executor of the estate of W.H. Auden. He is the author of Early Auden, Later Auden, and The Things That Matter, a volume of essays on Mary Shelley, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf. His Moral Agents: Eight Twentieth-Century American Writers will be published in early 2015.
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