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WH Auden: 'my only duty as a poet is to defend the use of language' - archive, 4 Sept 1970


4 September 1970: Auden discusses his new commonplace book, A Certain World, and the relation between politics and art

WH Auden believes A Certain World is the nearest to an autobiography that he will ever write. It has just been published in New York and is due out here in spring. “Biographies of writers are always superfluous and usually in bad taste. No knowledge of the raw ingredients will explain the peculiar flavour of the verbal dishes he invites the public to taste. His private life is, or should be, of no concern to anybody but himself, his family, his friends.” But the Commonplace Book (as he calls it), with its 173 entries, is at any rate an account of his intellectual and spiritual life.

Related: Brass band and Oxbridge mourners at WH Auden’s funeral – archive, 5 Oct 1973

Related: Mr Auden's anthology - review of Poets of the English Language:From the archive, 2 September 1952:

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