Summer 1945 • Vol. VII No. 3 Book ReviewsJuly 1, 1945 |

He Bridged the Atlantic

The Collected Poetry Of W. H. Auden. Random House. $3.75. The publishers’ jacket tells us he is 37. It is a figure which lies transparently coded in every line that he has written, not only as the product, but also as the mouthpiece, the oracle and the prophet of his generation, to whom the world before or immediately after the last war—the background of security, real or imagined, to the Georgian poets, for example—exists only as the memory of a childhood that betrayed its promises and now excites mistrust rather than nostalgia. Auden’s sympathetic understanding, expressed through his poems, operates almost exclusively on the certainties of the classics or the doublings of the world in which, since, 1918, he grew up, the storm-clouds darkening the sky with each year of advancing awareness. The war that broke out in 1914 took its poets by surprise, if one is to judge from their poems; the war of 1939 is foreshadowed in almost every line that Auden wrote before it cracked

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