Wednesday 4 August 2010

Is it just me or is Auden's later stuff (60s on) often kinda worthless? Easy to read, because once the grand rhetorical gestures are stripped away what's left is often close to doggerel, but really little more than senescent grumbles couched in better-than-average language? Look at the poems grumbling about physics dealing with really big things and really small things while actual human beings are stuck at 'median', or the one that describes the moon landing as an inevitable and therefore meaningless consequence of the human male's gadget-making and exploring proclivities. This is grumpy-uncle stuff, not Eliot's-natural-successor material (although Eliot had his grumpy-uncle side too).

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