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W.H. Auden and Dylan Thomas

Poets draw upon life experiences and intellectual influences in developing their work, with some such influences being conscious and others unconscious but perceptible. Both W.H. Auden and Dylan Thomas show a number of such influences in their work, and each poet has also tended to select some important events in their time to serve as the impetus for poetry. W.H. Auden was a very conscious poet, a theorist as well as a poet, and one who understood the influences shaping his poetry and who made deliberate use of them to convey his themes and emotional impact. An examination of Auden's poetry and his theories of poetry shows that he was influenced by strong intellectual currents of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and that he consciously used the fact and power of ideology as he made use of the developing existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and the social and political writings of Marx and other Communist thinkers to convey his particular notions of order. Poet Dylan Thomas was influenced in his writing by the Romantic Movement from the beginning of the nineteenth century, and this can be seen in a number of his best works, including the poems "Fern Hill," "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London," and "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night." These and other Dylan works show the power of the Romantic style, which fit well with Thomas's interests and capabilities as a poet. He also finds inspiration in specific events, as in "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London."

In a famous lecture on poetry delivered by Auden at Oxford, he made an important distinction between the sacred and the profane that illuminates his poetry. He defines sacred beings and events as those that arouse involuntary awe in the observer, that seem overwhelmingly significant even if the reasons for this are too deep for the observer to analyze. Everything else is defined as profane. There is nothing r


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W.H. Auden and Dylan Thomas. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:37, May 19, 2019, from