|Pages/Publication Date:||341 / 2019|
When World War II broke out, W.H. Auden was in New York City, and he began a period of enforced—and to some degree, voluntary—exile from his native Britain. Encapsulating the chaos of war and his own alienation, Auden's masterful poem, "September 1, 1939," was his most famous and celebrated, yet one which he tried to rewrite and disown. In this refreshingly informal literary study, the author of the Mobile Library mysteries explores this poem and a wide range of related literary works, to unravel why we express ourselves in poetry and fiction. Ian Sansom also looks at our own Age of Anxiety, including the aftermath of September 11, when many American newspapers reprinted Auden's poem in its entirety on their editorial pages.