World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Auden Group

Article Id: WHEBN0007159723
Reproduction Date:

Title: Auden Group  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: The poets of Elan, Akhmatova's Orphans, Informationist poetry, Ecopoetry, Spoetry
Collection: British Poets, Poetry Movements
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Auden Group

The Auden Group or the Auden Generation is the name given to a group of British and Irish writers active in the 1930s that included W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, Cecil Day-Lewis, Stephen Spender, Christopher Isherwood, and sometimes Edward Upward and Rex Warner. They were sometimes called simply the Thirties poets (see References).

Although many newspaper articles and a few books appeared about the "Auden Group", the existence of the group was essentially a journalistic myth, a convenient label for poets and novelists who were approximately the same age, who had been educated at Oxford and Cambridge, who had known each other at different times, and had more or less left-wing views ranging from MacNeice's political scepticism to Upward's committed communism.

The "group" was never together in the same room; the four poets, Auden, Day-Lewis, MacNeice and Spender, were in the same room only once in the 1930s, for a BBC broadcast in 1938 of modern poets (also including Dylan Thomas and others who were not associated with the "Auden Group"). This event was so insignificant that Day-Lewis evidently forgot it had occurred when he wrote in his autobiography The Buried Day that the four were first together in 1953.

The connections between individual writers, as friends and collaborators, were, however, real. Auden and Isherwood produced three plays and a travel book. Auden and MacNeice collaborated on a travel book. As undergraduates, Auden and Day-Lewis wrote a brief introduction to the annual Oxford Poetry. Auden dedicated books to Isherwood and Spender. Day-Lewis mentioned Auden in a poem. But the whole group never operated as such.


"MacSpaunday" was a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco (1946), to designate a composite figure made up of the four poets:

Campbell, in common with much literary journalism of the period, imagined that the four were a group of like-minded poets, although they shared little but left-wing views in the broadest sense of the word. Campbell elsewhere implied that the four were homosexual, but MacNeice and Day-Lewis were entirely heterosexual.

In later years the term was sometimes used neutrally, as a synonym for the "Thirties poets" or "the New Poetry of the 1930s".


  • Carter, Ronald (1984), ed. Thirties poets: the "Auden Group": a casebook. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-29329-0.
  • Poster, Jem (1993). The thirties poets. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-09663-8

External links

  • MediaDrome article
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.