W. H. Auden: September I, 1939 (2243 words)


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“September I, 1939” is a nine-stanza poem by W. H. Auden, written in New York City in response to the German invasion of Poland that triggered the Second World War. For many readers it has been a favourite among Auden’s poems, and it is one of his most widely quoted. Auden himself later came to disparage this poem as a dishonest work, at first deleting its memorable eighth stanza for his collections of 1945 and 1950, and then repudiating it altogether. For this reason it is not to be found in Auden’s posthumous Collected Poems (1976), but it is reprinted in full in the Selected Poems (ed. Edward Mendelson, 1979; revd. 2009).

Auden wrote this poem, as its title suggests, in early …

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "September I, 1939". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 October 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38794, accessed 22 April 2021.]

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