W. H. Auden: As I Walked Out One Evening (1165 words)


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“As I Walked Out One Evening” (1938) is a ballad by W. H. Auden. More exactly, it is a pastiche of ballad-like effects, arising from Auden’s immersion in popular verse traditions while he was preparing his anthology The Oxford Book of Light Verse (1938). Its opening echoes that of a traditional ballad, “The Sailor’s Return”, beginning “As I walked out one night, it being dark all over”, which he included in that anthology. Employing some basic principles of balladry, notably the recounting of a story through voices contending in dialogue, Auden develops it with his own distinctive devices of comical exaggeration and of sinister allegorical imagery. The poem’s subject is the t…

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "As I Walked Out One Evening". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 August 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38743, accessed 22 April 2021.]

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