“Casino” (1936) is a 24-line poem in unrhymed quatrains by W. H. Auden, in which he considers a gathering of gamblers around a roulette wheel as a sadly sterile ceremony, a “rite of disbelief”. Its depressing conclusion suggests that the living-death chosen by the casino gamblers represents the doomed or thwarted condition of a generation. The poem was written in April 1936, shortly after Auden’s visit to the Casino do Estoril at the coastal resort near Lisbon, on a trip arranged by his friend and collaborator Christopher Isherwood as a diversion from co-writing their play

The Ascent of F6

(1936) at the nearby town of Sintra.

“Casino” first appeared in Auden’s next collection, Look, Stranger! (October 1936), and was later revised lightly for the Collected Poetry (1945) and

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Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Casino". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 August 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38742, accessed 13 April 2024.]

38742 Casino 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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