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W. H. Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden (1907 - 1973), English author, wrote a considerable body of criticism and essays, as well as co-authoring some drama with his friend Christopher Isherwood, but Auden is primarily known as a poet. Auden's work is characterized by exceptional variety, ranging from such rigorous traditional forms as the villanelle to entirely unstructured verse, as well as the technical and verbal skills Auden displayed regardless of form.

Auden was deeply involved in political controversies of his day, and some of his greatest work reflects these concerns, such as Spain , a poem on the Spanish Civil War and September 1, 1939 on the outbreak of World War II. Other memorable works include his Christmas oratorio, For the Time Being, Musée des Beaux-Arts, and poems on the deaths of William Butler Yeats and Sigmund Freud.

Auden's poem Funeral Blues was cited in the smash 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Prior to this Auden's work was also used in the United Kingdom Post Office documentary film, Night Mail.

Auden married Erika Mann[?], daughter of the great novelist Thomas Mann, in 1935. The primary motive for this marriage was to provide his "bride" with a passport to escape the Third Reich. That it produced no children is less than surprising, given Auden's well known promiscuous homosexuality.

Auden was part of a group of writers including Edward Upward[?], Christopher Isherwood, and Stephen Spender[?].

See also: Famous gay lesbian and bisexual people.

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