Read What W. H. Auden Can Do for You Online Free - When facing a moral dilemma, Isabel Dalhousie — Edinburgh philosopher, amateur detective, and title character of a series of novels by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith — often refers to the great twentieth-century poet W. H. Auden. This is no accident: McCall Smith has long been fascinated by Auden. Indeed, the novelist, best known for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, calls the poet not only the greatest literary discovery of his life but also the best of guides on how to live. In this book, McCall Smith has written a charming personal account about what Auden has done for him — and what he just might do for you.
Part self-portrait, part literary appreciation, the book tells how McCall Smith first came across the poet's work in the 1970s, while teaching law in Belfast, a violently divided city where Auden's "September 1, 1939," a poem about the outbreak of World War II, strongly resonated. McCall Smith goes on to reveal how his life has related to and been inspired by other Auden poems ever since. For example, he describes how he has found an invaluable reflection on life's transience in "As I Walked Out One Evening," while "The More Loving One" has provided an instructive meditation on unrequited love. McCall Smith shows how Auden can speak to us throughout life, suggesting how, despite difficulties and change, we can celebrate understanding, acceptance, and love for others.
An enchanting story about how art can help us live, this book will appeal to McCall Smith's fans and anyone curious about Auden.
|Title||:||What W. H. Auden Can Do for You|
|Number of Pages||:||137 pages|
September 09, 2016
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
My association with W.H. Auden and his literary output has been restricted to the occasional browsing through poets.org which gave rise to a somewhat...
July 12, 2017
This book was published in September of 2013 on the 40th anniversary of the death of Auden. Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973), an English poet, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1948, the Bollingen Prize in 1954 and many more awards over the years.
Smith tells about how he discovered Auden’s poetry...
August 25, 2013
Alexander McCall Smith has long been fascinated by the poetry - and life - of W H Auden. One of his main characters, Isabel Dalhousie, is a devotee of the poet, while another, Mma Ramotswe, also shares his views on life. As McCall Smith explains, he has "learned so much from this poet. I have bat...
October 26, 2013
No surprise that a book by this author is charming, but it is also more. Drawn to this book by curiosity, I feel better after reading it, and can't help feeling as if I am better for having read it, and immediately recommended it to my husband, and now I am recommending it to you, too.
I'm sure yo...
January 02, 2014
I love W.H. Auden. I find his poetry to be some of the most moving and current in the collective oeuvre of Western Poetry – which is why I found this book so resoundingly disappointing. I can admit that Auden is a hard topic to write on, seeing as there are likely a small library’s worth of book...
March 12, 2014
I have never been a huge fan of books that analyze poetry. They tend to drain the beauty and humanity from the very poems they set out to make more approachable for the reader. For this reason, I was especially excited to read a poem about Auden by one of my favorite authors.
As it turns out, I w...
September 01, 2013
What unfortunately prevented me to fully enjoy this book is the total lack of information on my part about Auden, which, however, are largely provided by the book, but of course now I'm a bit more interested not so much on hes life, but rather on his work, almost entirely unknown to me, but for w...
December 12, 2013
This book is heartfelt and pleasant to read - a reviewer in The Wall Street Journal panned it, but I think he missed the point entirely. McCall Smith does not present himself as a scholar of Auden, but as an appreciative reader of Auden, and there is a big difference between the two. In my view,...
November 15, 2013
i've read pretty much everything this author has written (except medical law textbooks!) so in spite of not being a huge poetry fan (my own fault entirely for not making the effort), i had to give this a try. also, i was going to a lecture related to the book and i didn't want to be completely in...
October 28, 2013
I cannot say it better than Edward Mendelson, an Auden expert:
"Alexander McCall Smith's voice in this splendid book is instantly recognizable as the calm, sympathetic, psychologically shrewd, and morally generous one that narrates his novels. This is not only a convincing account of W.H. Auden's...