Public Figure Profiles

W.H. Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) was a British-American poet. Auden's poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with politics, morals, love, and religion, and its variety in tone, form, and content. Some of his best known poems are about love, such as "Funeral Blues"; on political and social themes, such as "September 1, 1939" and "The Shield of Achilles"; on cultural and psychological themes, such as The Age of Anxiety; and on religious themes such as "For the Time Being" and "Horae Canonicae".He was born in York and grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle-class family. He attended various English independent (or public) schools and studied English at Christ Church, Oxford. After a few months in Berlin in 1928–29, he spent five years (1930–35) teaching in British private preparatory schools, then travelled to Iceland and China to write books about his journeys.

In 1939, he moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1946, retaining his British citizenship. He taught from 1941 to 1945 in American universities, followed by occasional visiting professorships in the 1950s. From 1947 to 1957 he wintered in New York and summered in Ischia; from 1958 until the end of his life he wintered in New York (in Oxford in 1972–73) and summered in Kirchstetten, Lower Austria.

He came to wide public attention with his first book Poems at the age of twenty-three in 1930; it was followed in 1932 by The Orators. Three plays written in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood between 1935 and 1938 built his reputation as a left-wing political writer. Auden moved to the United States partly to escape this reputation, and his work in the 1940s, including the long poems "For the Time Being" and "The Sea and the Mirror", focused on religious themes. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 1947 long poem The Age of Anxiety, the title of which became a popular phrase describing the modern era. From 1956 to 1961 he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford; his lectures were popular with students and faculty, and served as the basis for his 1962 prose collection The Dyer's Hand.

Auden and Isherwood maintained a lasting but intermittent sexual relationship from around 1927 to 1939, while both also had briefer but more intense relations with other men. In 1939, Auden fell in love with Chester Kallman and regarded their relationship as a marriage, but this ended in 1941 when Kallman refused to accept the faithful relations that Auden demanded. However, the two maintained their friendship, and from 1947 until Auden's death they lived in the same house or apartment in a non-sexual relationship, often collaborating on opera libretti such as that of The Rake's Progress, to music by Igor Stravinsky.

Auden was a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological, and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays, and other forms of performance. Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential, and critical views on his work ranged from sharply dismissive—treating him as a lesser figure than W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot—to strongly affirmative, as in Joseph Brodsky's statement that he had "the greatest mind of the twentieth century". After his death, his poems became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films, broadcasts, and popular media.

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Some of their strengths

W.H. Auden has many admirable traits.

Based on spiritual traditions from around the world, they are someone who can be described as Kind, Passionate, Creative, Intuitive, Imaginative, Energetic, and Intelligent.

Soulful and Understanding

According to Mysticism’s Astrology tradition, W.H. Auden is someone who is a soulful, understanding, and conscious person, who combines smarts with a deep talent for creativity and imagination. A person who is known for being fun and creative.

Charming and Sophisticated

Based on Daoism’s Ba-Zi or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ tradition, people who know W.H. Auden well know them as someone who can be classy, glamorous, and worldly, like jewelry.

Courteous and Easygoing

According to Hinduism’s Jyotisha or ‘Vedic Astrology’ tradition, many would also describe W.H. Auden as someone who is polite, modest, and diplomatic.

A person who tends to be socially popular, who loves intellectual or creative activities, who has a talent for communicating with and understanding the needs of others, and who seems to have a knack for getting recognized for their efforts.

Charismatic and Instinctual

Based on the Mayan Tzolk’in or ‘Mayan Astrology’ tradition, W.H. Auden is someone who handles stress better than most people, and who tends to have a powerful charisma and convictions.

They are also someone who is intuitive, imaginative, and an agent of change, and who is always dreaming of life's great possibilities and partnering with people to try to achieve those possibilities.

Creative and Imaginative

According to Judaism’s Kabbalah tradition, W.H. Auden tends to be someone who is sensitive, imaginative, creative, and somewhat of a dreamer. Who is intuitive and compassionate, and who has a friendly, easygoing, calming and relaxing effect on people and for whom friends and family mean the world.

Some of W.H. Auden's challenges

While W.H. Auden has many strengths, nobody is perfect. They also have some challenging traits they need to manage.

For example, W.H. Auden can be Indecisive, Unrealistic, Self-centered, Emotional, Hypocritical, Complicated, and Brusque.

Indecisive and Unrealistic

One of W.H. Auden's key challenges is that they are someone who can come across as indecisive and unrealistic.

W.H. Auden must also exercise caution as they can be short-tempered and aggressive.

Indecisive and Materialistic

W.H. Auden is someone who can be indecisive, indulgent, and materialistic, who can have difficulty focusing on a single career or profession, have difficulty following orders or respecting authority, and who can suffer from "analysis paralysis".

Lethargic and Unrealistic

Finally, W.H. Auden also can be too soft, lazy and lethargic, and who can have difficulty finding others who share a similarly dreamy outlook on life.

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