“Night Mail” (1936; revised 1966) is a poem by W. H. Auden, written in 1935 as a verse commentary for the final minutes of a documentary film of the same title,

Night Mail

(dir. Harry Watt and Basil Wright, 1936), produced by the GPO (General Post Office) Film Unit in which Auden was employed at the time as an assistant director. It is celebrated as the classic example of film-soundtrack verse in English, and admired for its exploitation of evocative rhythmic effects. It first describes the arrival of a night train (this being the LMS Postal Special express from London Euston to Aberdeen via Crewe, Glasgow and Edinburgh) across the Scottish border, making for Glasgow as the country sleeps; it then imagines the abundantly various kinds of letters that it carries; a final part describes…

2003 words

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Night Mail". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 November 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35840, accessed 22 April 2024.]

35840 Night Mail 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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