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Spectator Books: the best and worst of Auden

4 September 2019

6:17 PM

4 September 2019

6:17 PM

Eighty years on from the start of the Second World War, my guest in this week’s podcast is Ian Sansom — who’s talking about ‘September 1, 1939’, the Auden poem that marked the beginning of that war. Ian’s new book is a ‘biography’ of the poem, and he talks about how it showcases all that is both best and worst in Auden’s work, how Auden first rewrote and then disowned it, and how Auden’s posthumous reputation has had some unlikely boosters in Richard Curtis and Osama Bin Laden.


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