W. H. Auden, Casino

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“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 …

2064 words

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Casino". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 August 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38742, accessed 07 February 2023.]

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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