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The W. H. Auden Society


An important message to current members: All current members of the Society have on-line access to all current and recent numbers of the Newsletter through a password-protected page on this site. We have e-mailed the password to all current members whose e-mail addresses are in our files. If you are a current member of the Society and have not received an e-mail with your password, please send an e-mail to makerofweb(at)audensociety(dot)org. (Of course, please replace the parenthetical words with the @ sign and a dot.) If you have not renewed your membership recently, please feel free to do so through a link on the membership page. Older numbers of the Newsletter continue to be publicly available on the archives page.


News items:

The Society's Newsletter 37 (October 2014) has been posted online. Members of the Society who have supplied the webmaster with their e-mail addresses have been sent a message with the password that is required to view or download the file. If you have not received this e-mail message, and you are a current member of the Society, kindly send a message to the webmaster (including your full name) using the address at the foot of this page. (The full text of R. B. Mallion's reminiscences of Auden, abridged in the Newsletter, may be found on this site.)

Printed copies have been posted to members in the United States who subscribe at the institutional rate, and will be posted shortly to members outside the United States who subscribe at the institutional rate. Two online versions of the Newsletter have been posted: one designed for online reading or to be printed one page to a sheet, the other designed to be printed on two sides of the page and folded and stapled as a booklet. All recent numbers of the Newsletter may be found on a separate page.

A production of The Rake's Progress, by the Bury Court Opera, an hour outside London, is scheduled for March 2015; details and booking via the company's web site.

An outbreak of forged signatures of Auden seems to have occurred during the past few years, and a number of them have been offered for sale, or have been sold. A few of them are noted on this site.

A note on dubious quotations from Auden in a book by Jonah Lehrer titled Imagine has been added to an earlier page listing a few things Auden never wrote.

A highly accurate, thoroughly revised version of the Wikipedia.org entry on Auden is now available. This site strongly recommends that online researchers make reference to the archived version of the page, in the link above, rather than to current versions, which may be less accurate or may be subject to vandalism. (A page on Wystanus Hugo Auden in the Latin-language Vicipedia may also be of interest.)

Older versions of the Society's web site may be found in the British Library's web archive.

See also some further notes that may be of interest.


The W. H. Auden Society commemorates the life and work of one of the greatest poets in the English language.

This web site offers a list of books by Wystan Hugh Auden, links to some of his poems, a selective list of recordings of his readings and of musical settings of his poems, and (to be added in the near future) a biography. Recent news of publications and events of interest to Auden's readers, reports of work in progress, and brief scholarly and interpretive notes may also be found here. Visitors seeking further information can find selective lists of published criticism and biography, links to other web sites, and the archives of the Society's Newsletter. You may search the contents of this site.

Authors and publishers seeking permission to quote the writings of W. H. Auden may consult the copyright page.

A page of frequently asked questions contains information about the poems by Auden quoted in Tuesdays with Morrie (“September 1, 1939”) and in Four Weddings and a Funeral (“Stop all the clocks...”).

Information is available about membership in the W. H. Auden Society and its officers, and a list of contacts is provided for authors and publishers seeking copyright permission to quote, reprint, or translate Auden's works. A map of this site is provided.

You may join the Society on-line using a credit card and a web-based transaction service. Details may be found on the membership page.

Following the ratification of its Constitution in May 2004, the Society is now registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales as Charity No. 1104496. The W. H. Auden Society is registered as a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York.

All works by Auden quoted on this site are copyright by the Estate of W. H. Auden and used with the permission of the Estate.


Some further notes that may be of interest:

W. H. Auden's Revising Process, a series of eleven articles by Yoshinari S. Yamada, first published in 1974-1990, is now available from this site as a single PDF file.

Auden's Revisions, by W. D. Quesenbery, is a book-length study that the author completed shortly before his death. Through the generosity of his daughter Whitney Quesenbery the entire book is available on this site in PDF format, together with a separate copyright notice.

A warning to potential buyers of Auden memorabilia: Three items in Auden's handwriting were offered for sale on eBay in March 2009; two of them are not exactly what the auction listings describe them as being, and potential bidders should beware. The item described as "Very rare authentic W. H. Auden handwritten poem" is not a poem at all, but a partial pencil draft of the index of the first lines of the poems that Auden selected for inclusion in an anthology, The Faber Book of Modern American Verse, published in 1956; every line is the first line of one of the poems in the anthology, all written by other poets. The item described as "Authentic W. H. Auden handwritten Polish Ballet notes" is a printed programme booklet with notes not written by Auden, but someone else who has not been identified; the lot also includes a three-by-five-inch index card with notes that are, however, in Auden's hand; the notes are a brief list of poems by the American poet William Vaughn Moody, evidently listed for possible inclusion in the same Faber Book of Modern American Verse. The item described as "Authentic W. H. Auden Driver's License" is, however, accurately described, and is evidently Auden's driver's license, apparently issued in December 1968.

News that wasn't: The London newspaper The Independent splashed across its front page on 5 September 2007 the news that three "lost" schoolboy poems by Auden had been rediscovered. These three unsigned poems were in fact known to researchers for many decades, and there seem to be no convincing reason to believe that Auden wrote any of them. It is of course not impossible that Auden was the author, but they could equally well have been written by almost any literate schoolboy of the period. Katherine Bucknell, the editor of Auden's Juvenilia, has argued in the Society's Newsletter that one of the poems was written by Auden's friend Robert Medley. Probably no one will ever know who actually wrote these poems, and, as Auden wrote in "Archaeology," "guessing is always / more fun than knowing."

A note on Reinaldo Javier Sanchez from Venezuela: The Society recently received an e-mail from Reinaldo Javier Sanchez, who describes himself as a professor of English at a university in Venezuela, asking for a copy of Auden's Collected Poems to sent to him by air mail;  he writes that he needs it for a project that he has planned for his students. If other webmasters should receive a similar request, they may wish to read some earlier messages written by Prof. Javier Sanchez. Examples of such messages may be found here and here, and further messages from Prof. Javier Sanchez - who evidently teaches a wide range of subjects, is deeply committed to his students, is sometimes male and sometimes female, and has remained 25 years old from at least 2004 through 2009 - may be found through a web search. For some unknown reason, Prof. Javier Sanchez's name does not appear in the directory of the university in which he claims to teach.


Webmaster e-mail address: makerofweb(-at-)audensociety(-dot-)org  12 December 2014