Auden's Games of Knowledge: Poetry and the Meanings of by Richard R. Bozorth

By Richard R. Bozorth

The first full-length attention of Auden as a gay poet, this quantity exhibits that Auden's profession used to be tied to a means of homosexual self-interrogation exceptional in sleek poetry and argues that he was once pushed by means of a strong craving to realize the mental, political, and moral implications of same-sex hope.

Auden's theories approximately poetry within the Nineteen Thirties and after mirrored an excessive trouble with the way to write publicly as a gay poet. That fight was once made occur in his love poetry, which Bozorth argues constitutes a type of "erotic autobiography" exploring the distinctive demanding situations of gay love.

Bozorth's strategy is manifold, analyzing the poet's engagements with avant-garde poetics, homosexual tradition, psychoanalysis, leftist politics, and theology. This booklet proposes that from his early fascination with undercover agent and trickster figures to his later theories of poetry as an I-Thou relation, Auden seen poetry as a fictional yet primal erotic stumble upon with the reader.

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Additional info for Auden's Games of Knowledge: Poetry and the Meanings of Homosexuality

Sample text

Auden’s work, I argue, speaks importantly to queer readers about such concerns, but it also offers a lens through which to consider centrality and marginality, essentialism and constructionism, fruitfully complicating another binary of vexed status in the academy today: that of canonical and minority literature. By provoking a game of knowledge about the poet’s desires and meanings, Auden’s poetry invites readers to engage in an exemplary process of fluid identifications of themselves and their own desires.

One recipient of the 1928 Poems, E. R. Dodds, later confessed, “I found many of [the poems] maddeningly obscure (as I still do); the connections of thought often baffled me; but I recognized the tones of a new, completely individual voice and the presence of some highly compressed message which was trying to force its way into expression” (Carpenter, Auden 83). Such responses, which are common in early reviews of Auden’s work, are the germ of universalizing academic readings of his poetry; in the absence of privileged knowledge, the reader assumes that it is the abstruseness or compression of what is being said that makes it obscure.

From one angle, Germany seems to have represented for Auden and his friends what France did for Wilde and the decadents of the 1890s, and southern Europe for writers like Pater and Forster. ” Auden asked David Ayerst in a 1927 letter (Carpenter, Auden 84). Auden later elaborated on his motives for choosing Germany: “I felt out of sympathy with French culture, partly by temperament and partly in revolt against the generation of intellectuals immediately preceding mine, which was strongly Francophile” (FA 521).

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