A recording of Auden's last reading, for the Österrieschische Gesellschaft für Literatur, at Palais Palffy, Vienna on 28 September 1973, has come into the Society's hands.
The recording may be heard on this digitized copy of the original tape.
Descriptions of the reading may be found in Greg Lewis's contribution to the Society's Newsletter 39; and in Deaths of the Poets, by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts (Jonathan Cape, 2017). One brief clarification may be useful. At the start Auden explains that he will read some poems that have already been read in German by actor Achim Benning. He intends to read a poem to his housekeeper, and then to his retiring general practitioner, and says fluently in German: “Gott sei dank’ wir haben einer neuer Gemeindeartzt gekriegt” [laughter], then almost to himself, “Wir sind ganz Hoffnungsvoll...” That is: “Thank God a new community physician has been appointed: [laughter] (and) “we are full of hope…”
Return to the list of notes or to The W. H. Auden Society home page