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By W.H. Auden Arthur C. Kirsch | Comments: ( 721 ) | Date: ( Oct 22, 2019 )

Written in the midst of World War II after its author emigrated to America, The Sea and the Mirror is not merely a great poem but ranks as one of the most profound interpretations of Shakespeare s final play in the twentieth century As W H Auden told friends, it is really about the Christian conception of art and it is my Ars Poetica, in the same way I believe TheWritten in the midst of World War II after its author emigrated to America, The Sea and the Mirror is not merely a great poem but ranks as one of the most profound interpretations of Shakespeare s final play in the twentieth century As W H Auden told friends, it is really about the Christian conception of art and it is my Ars Poetica, in the same way I believe The Tempest to be Shakespeare s This is the first critical edition Arthur Kirsch s introduction and notes make the poem newly accessible to readers of Auden, readers of Shakespeare, and all those interested in the relation of life and literature those two classic themes alluded to in its title.The poem begins in a theater after a performance of The Tempest has ended It includes a moving speech in verse by Prospero bidding farewell to Ariel, a section in which the supporting characters speak in a dazzling variety of verse forms about their experiences on the island, and an extravagantly inventive section in prose that sees the uncivilized Caliban address the audience on art an unalloyed example of what Auden s friend Oliver Sachs has called his wild, extraordinary and demonic imagination Besides annotating Auden s allusions and sources in notes after the text , Kirsch provides extensive quotations from his manuscript drafts, permitting the reader to follow the poem s genesis in Auden s imagination This book, which incorporates for the first time previously ignored corrections that Auden made on the galleys of the first edition, also provides an unusual opportunity to see the effect of one literary genius upon another.


  • Title: The Sea and the Mirror
  • Author: W.H. Auden Arthur C. Kirsch
  • ISBN: 9780691123844
  • Page: 125
  • Format: Paperback

About Author:

W.H. Auden Arthur C. Kirsch

Wystan Hugh Auden was an Anglo American poet, best known for love poems such as Funeral Blues, poems on political and social themes such as September 1, 1939 and The Shield of Achilles, poems on cultural and psychological themes such as The Age of Anxiety, and poems on religious themes such as For the Time Being and Horae Canonicae He was born in York, grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle class family He attended English independent or public schools and studied English at Christ Church, Oxford After a few months in Berlin in 1928 29 he spent five years 1930 35 teaching in English public schools, then travelled to Iceland and China in order to write books about his journeys In 1939 he moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1946 He taught from 1941 through 1945 in American universities, followed by occasional visiting professorships in the 1950s From 1947 through 1957 he wintered in New York and summered in Ischia from 1958 until the end of his life he wintered in New York in Oxford in 1972 73 and summered in Kirchstetten, Austria.Auden s poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with politics, morals, love, and religion, and its variety in tone, form and content He came to wide public attention at the age of twenty three, in 1930, with his first book, Poems, followed in 1932 by The Orators Three plays written in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood in 1935 38 built his reputation as a left wing political writer Auden moved to the United States partly to escape this reputation, and his work in the 1940s, including the long poems For the Time Being and The Sea and the Mirror, focused on religious themes He won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his 1947 long poem The Age of Anxiety, the title of which became a popular phrase describing the modern era In 1956 61 he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford his lectures were popular with students and faculty and served as the basis of his 1962 prose collection The Dyer s Hand.From around 1927 to 1939 Auden and Isherwood maintained a lasting but intermittent sexual friendship while both had briefer but intense relations with other men In 1939 Auden fell in love with Chester Kallman and regarded their relation as a marriage this ended in 1941 when Kallman refused to accept the faithful relation that Auden demanded, but the two maintained their friendship, and from 1947 until Auden s death they lived in the same house or apartment in a non sexual relation, often collaborating on opera libretti such as The Rake s Progress, for music by Igor Stravinsky.Auden was a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays, and other forms of performance Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential, and critical views on his work ranged from sharply dismissive, treating him as a lesser follower of W.B Yeats and T.S Eliot, to strongly affirmative, as in Joseph Brodsky s claim that he had the greatest mind of the twentieth century After his death, some of his poems, notably Funeral Blues, Mus e des Beaux Arts, Refugee Blues, The Unknown Citizen, and September 1, 1939, became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films, broadcasts, and popular media.



Comments The Sea and the Mirror

  • J L Kruse

    I discovered "The Sea and the Mirror" in the basement of the Harvard Book Store, unassumingly placed in a bare bookcase among volumes of used poetry. I bought it, thumbed through it, read it and read it again. I find myself coming back to it because it speaks to duality: the flesh versus the mind, and the anemic existence of one when isolated from the other. The poem takes place at the end of The Tempest. Ariel, a spirit, interacts with the characters from Shakespeare's play during the first two [...]


  • Sarah

    "My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely." So goes Miranda's soliloquy, directed at the audience (explicitly, as this play is stylized as a self-conscious commentary on Shakespeare's play). The poetry is lovely, yet Auden continually reminds you that his play is metafiction, a cognitive echo of the original story's aesthetics. Nothing is straightfoward - neither beauty nor monstrosity - in this beautiful critical approach.My favorite section by far is Caliban's monologue to the audience. Shake [...]


  • Alison

    "learn from your dreams what you lack/for as your fears are, so much you hope"this poem blows my mind with all that it addresses: the legacy of the artist, art as a revolutionary tool, fear of (im)mortality and so on. the text is so dense and auden, as always, means more than one concrete thing. he challenges the established order of shakespeare's text with a new call for reform and action. i dream this poem.


  • Matthew Allison

    Do not deny yourself. Read poetry. Such as this book.


  • Daniel

    There's a lot here and I don't understand most of it, so I won't offer the pretention of a full review. One helpful thing to do before reading this would be to become familiar with The Tempest and its basic criticism.You know you don't understand a book when every five minutes you think, "yeah, I like that," but don't know how it fits into the speaker, the scene, or the work. Here's a passage I enjoyed. It's the start of the poem, right after the curtain has closed on a performance of The Tempes [...]


  • Mike Jensen

    I don't agree with Auden's commentary, but I do not believe that it is designed so that close readers of Shakespeare's play will. This is a very modern response to an old text, and fascinating for being exactly that.


  • Forester McClatchey

    Compelling in its gnosticism. "Caliban to the Audience" is fire emoji.


  • Tse Guang

    Brilliant stuff. Beautiful to read where beauty is needed, painful where pain is (Caliban's section, I'm looking at you).


  • Jenny

    Crazy, maddening, brilliant--as much a commentary on the relationship between art and life and the purpose of art as it is a commentary on The Tempest.


  • Wojciech

    hieratic and sometimes (for me) foggy but abslolutelly impresive.


  • Paola

    youtube/watch?v=0d3u7Z


  • Jeremy

    About Christianity and art.


  • Lindsay

    fascinating.


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  • [PDF] ✓ Free Download À The Sea and the Mirror : by W.H. Auden Arthur C. Kirsch ✓
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  • thumbnail Title: [PDF] ✓ Free Download À The Sea and the Mirror : by W.H. Auden Arthur C. Kirsch ✓
    Posted by:W.H. Auden Arthur C. Kirsch
    Published :2019-07-04T04:31:19+00:00