out Auden's prosodic theories and experiments and seeks to redress the damage done to Auden's late reputation by critical misprision and consequent neglect.
In his prose works, Auden often commented on the long history and traditional practices of English-language versifying. He reflected on his own century's poetic needs. Over time, he dropped many hints about his aesthetics and his hopes for translating his thoughts about culture and society into what he came to consider an appropriate poetic style for his own era. Because Auden is such an important twentieth-century poet, a study of his wide-ranging reflections on poetry and poetics should be of ample interest.
Because it links the poet's biographia literaria and his aesthetic vision, this book is meant to appeal to poets as well as to students of writing—particularly those interested in the creative process and its correlation to artistic forms. Students of twentieth-century American and British literature will find in these pages a comprehensive survey of Auden's thoughts about his art and the poetry of his predecessors as well as of his contemporaries. Teachers of Auden's works will appreciate the strong light such a survey casts on Auden's poetic practice. Engineers and architects, physicists and biologists, cultural critics, social scientists, philosophers, and especially Gestalt psychologists might well enjoy reading about the ways their fields have intersected and influenced the thinking of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and courageous poets.
The image represented on the cover is of a relief sculpture from Aquileia, Italy, showing the sacred ritual of tracing the Sulcus primigenius, or consecrated boundary line around a constructible area. The importance to Auden's creative process of that enabling rite is at the heart of this study.