RT Book, Whole DB /z-wcorg/ DS http://worldcat.org ID 32894905 LA English T1 Auden A1 Davenport-Hines, R. P. T., PB Pantheon Books PP New York YR 1995 SN 0679426337 9780679426332 AB W. H. Auden was the greatest English poet of the twentieth century. As witness to many of the century's pivotal moments - Berlin in the 1920s, Spain and China in the 1930s, wartime and postwar America - and because of his consuming quest to translate the social, political, and cultural upheavals into poetry, his importance at century's end is undeniable. It is Richard Davenport-Hines' achievement in this biography (the first in fifteen years) to make clear the extent of Auden's achievement - as a poet, a librettist, and an essayist - and to show how his works serve as a commentary on the wars, ideologies, spiritual questioning, and sexual attitudes of the time in which he lived. Auden's ambition was to be a great poet. Beyond his intense need to experience and to be consumed by experience, there was also an inexhaustible curiosity about ideas, a passion for understanding, and a desire for wisdom. In an age when heroic conceptions are no longer useful, Auden's outer and inner travels and his dedication to writing establish his life as a model of what it means to be a poet today, and underscore the tremendous cost, in the words of Auden's friend Hannah Arendt, of following the "heart's invisible furies." In Auden, Davenport-Hines has given us a portrait that is fresh, convincing and exemplary.