Ian Sansom: September 1 1939



Much either though whether he did before getting sucked into this project is somewhat unclear I hadn t previously read the poem this is a biography of of course And I knew nothing about Sansom apparently he mostly writes mysteries so this much about his psyche is also decontextualized except for what he included in this book I guess I do know about Auden having read it but the book is much its own genial ride than the title or summary might lead you to believe Ian Sansom tells us it took him 25 years to write this longer than he s been married It s certainly a labour of love the bibliography reflecting the huge amount of reading and research There s no pretentiousness in his approach to Auden and his poetry it s straightforward easy to understand which is than can be said of the poem itself I loved it and was enlightened by Graphy it is a record of why and how we create and respond to great poet.

We must love one another or die Ian Sansom s analysi of W H Auden s poem demonstrates Auden s significance for our own time A very unusual book about the most famous poem by WH Auden a poem the poet seems to have disdained by an author who is perhaps best described as eccentricThere is a class of well educated British men who while making utterly self effacing statements ma Brilliant book Reconnected me with Auden This is than a book about a poem It s a book about writers and writing and a passion for literature I suppose this is no less useful as a work of literary criticism than most and the author is certainly amiable company but the degree to which it is loaded with mere information make it a wearying read Its research is a mile wide and an inch deep and Sansom is unwilling to a perverse degree to draw any conclusions. This a book about a poet about a poem about a city and about a world at.

Or defend any point of view I should be sympathetic since these are my own failings but I still wish it had been shorter by about a third Sometimes we dive so deep into the Unexpected Memoir hot springs that we end up in some flowing postmodern magma beneath Today is such a day This book professes to be a close read of a poem that W H Auden deemed his own worst and it is true that each chapter here launches from a different stanza of the poem doing a close read of various associations the words and images trigger But mostly it is bemoaning how Sansom spent a uarter century working on this book seemingly vibrating with self deprecation all the while There s as much here about Sansom s life teaching modern literature in Northern Ireland as there is about the poem itself perhaps because Sansom doesn t seem to like the poem very. A point of change More than a work of literary criticism or literary bio.

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