W. H. Auden: Letter to Lord Byron (1858 words)


“Letter to Lord Byron” (1937; revised 1966) is a long humorous poem by W. H. Auden, written between July and October 1936 and first published in his and Louis MacNeice’s co-authored travel book Letters from Iceland (1937). It is Auden’s most extended exercise in “light verse”, a literary mode that he explicitly defends and celebrates within the poem. As its title suggests, it is a verse epistle addressed to the ghost of Lord Byron, as a tribute to the style and tone of the latter’s incomplete comical verse epic Don Juan (1819-24), which Auden had been reading on his voyage from Hull to Reykjavik in June 1936. Unlike Don Juan, this poem does not attempt to tell a …

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Letter to Lord Byron". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 October 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35830, accessed 22 April 2021.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here