W. H. Auden: Night Mail (2003 words)


“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 …

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 2021.]

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