Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Auden” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  41 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
A masterful biography of one of the greatest English poets and most compelling literary figures of the 20th century, Auden is the first to take the full measure of the poet's achievements, his insatiable thirst for experience, his navigation between the needs of discipline and the lure of his addictions and lusts.
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published February 6th 1996 by Pantheon (first published October 16th 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Auden, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Auden

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 101)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
"Auden rightly mistrusted this outlook that reduces aesthetics to gossip," writes this biographer in his prologue. "He loathed the trivialisation of literary biography . . . [and] was particularly shrewd to mistrust sexual tale-telling."

If this be true of Auden, I fear he would have shrunk from this particular account of his own life--an unfortunate and frequently graphic commentary on his sexuality. Nearly every page I read or skimmed (and I stopped reading once this became apparent) was almost
Feb 09, 2016 Rj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well researched biography of Auden that looks at his life and his work.

"We imitate our loves: well, neighbours say
I grow more like my mother every day." 31

"Neither parents nor physicians foresaw the effect on some middle-class Englishmen of Auden's generation, whose frantic hunting for rough trade was related to their pleasure in foreskins, and their identification of them with real men rather than the effete and circumcised of their own class." 31
Chronological biography, tracing themes, influences, techniques and periodic changes in Auden's work. Things I learned: his fascination with industrial landscape, Freud, and Christianity; he wrote plays and librettos, collaborating with Stravinsky and Brecht; his antagonism to subjective, "confessional" poetry--ironically enough, the biography (necessarily) details some of the less savory decisions, positions, and attitudes Auden took, but usually with the purpose of investigating how he'd re-in ...more
Aug 21, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really fascinating portrait of one of my favorite poets, it made me return to my Collected Works, which is always fun, and illuminated a lot of the relationships that Auden alludes to in his work, without feeling like an extended gossip column (which must have been hard.) Not a fluff peice at all it gave me the impression that though I adore his writing and his philosophy, I probably would not have enjoyed spending any extended period of time with Auden the man. Also hilariously highlights the ...more
Malini Sridharan
Civilized gossip, cursory literary analysis. To be fair, that is probably all that would fit into 350-ish pages. In order to satisfy me, an Auden biographer would have to embody the best qualities of Robert Caro and Helen Gardner.
BookDB marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2016
Helena Wang
Helena Wang marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2016
Tom Harkness
Tom Harkness rated it did not like it
Jul 31, 2016
Laura rated it it was ok
Aug 25, 2016
John Rivard
John Rivard rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2016
e marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2016
David Bjorlin
David Bjorlin rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2016
Z marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2015
SC added it
Dec 05, 2015
Bryoniadioica rated it liked it
Nov 22, 2015
Avinesh Shankar
Avinesh Shankar marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2015
Tim rated it liked it
Sep 01, 2015
Keith Harvey
Keith Harvey rated it liked it
Aug 18, 2015
Tiffany marked it as to-read
Aug 15, 2015
Lor Go
Lor Go rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2015
Joseph added it
Jul 01, 2015
John marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2015
Ian marked it as to-read
May 12, 2016
Ym marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2015
Jody marked it as to-read
Mar 07, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »