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 technique of homosexual self-interrogation remarkable in glossy poetry and argues that he was once pushed through a robust craving to appreciate the mental, political, and moral implications of same-sex wish.

Auden's theories approximately poetry within the Thirties and after mirrored an excessive problem with easy methods 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, reading the poet's engagements with avant-garde poetics, homosexual culture, psychoanalysis, leftist politics, and theology. This publication proposes that from his early fascination with undercover agent and trickster figures to his later theories of poetry as an I-Thou relation, Auden considered poetry as a fictional yet primal erotic stumble upon with the reader.

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Abjuring the demand that a political poet adopt a polemical voice, Auden presents himself as Byron’s modern heir. Through imitation of Don Juan, he attacks the tendency toward ideological cant in “serious” political art, indulging privacy, effeminacy, and eccentricity (both poetic and sexual) as alternatives to conformist politics of masculinity on the right and the left. By concluding with an analysis of Auden’s 1935 comments on what he calls “parable,” chapter 4 serves as a linchpin for this book’s overall argument.

Of the twenty numbered poems, “Control of the passes” was among the most recent, apart from a few later incorporated into Paid on Both Sides. Dedicated to Isherwood, the book claims an impression of “About 45 copies,” and among its recipients were friends like Spender and Isherwood, A. L. Rowse, E. R. Dodds, Sidney Newman, C. 18 This information offers material evidence that Auden’s early work was first produced within and received by a limited, coterie readership, rather than within a commercial publishing framework for a mostly anonymous public.

Norris fumbles for his lighter, and Bradshaw then comments on the procedure: The tiny flame of the lighter flickered between us, as perishable as the atmosphere which our exaggerated politeness had created. qxd 5/10/01 14:12 Page 27 27 sexual politics and coterie poetry breath would have extinguished the one, the least incautious gesture or word would have destroyed the other. (2) The whole bizarre episode—the speculative, anxious eye contact and Bradshaw’s sense that Norris resembles “a schoolboy surprised in the act”—is initiated by what is, of course, a classic pickup line.

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