By Richard R. Bozorth

ISBN-10: 0231113528

ISBN-13: 9780231113526

The first full-length attention of Auden as a gay poet, this quantity exhibits that Auden's profession used to be tied to a technique of homosexual self-interrogation unprecedented in glossy poetry and argues that he was once pushed by way of a strong craving to appreciate the mental, political, and moral implications of same-sex wish.

Auden's theories approximately poetry within the Thirties and after mirrored an severe crisis with how one can write publicly as a gay poet. That fight used to be made take place in his love poetry, which Bozorth argues constitutes a type of "erotic autobiography" exploring the distinctive demanding situations of gay love.

Bozorth's strategy is manifold, analyzing the poet's engagements with avant-garde poetics, homosexual way of life, psychoanalysis, leftist politics, and theology. This ebook proposes that from his early fascination with undercover agent and trickster figures to his later theories of poetry as an I-Thou relation, Auden considered poetry as a fictional yet primal erotic come upon with the reader.

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Additional info for Auden's Games of Knowledge: Poetry and the Meanings of Homosexuality

Sample text

27 In place of a redemptive drama of the recovery of psychic coherence and common humanity in Nature, Auden’s landscape poems offer a revelation of alienation and social difference. For instead of adopting a voice of sincerity and openness, they hover equivocally between revelation and concealment, exploiting this tension for a selfconscious poetic masquerade where the unknown may—or may not— be the unspeakable. Auden’s masquerade as secret agent conjures an erotics of reading and writing without consummation—an ongoing solicitation of the reader but a refusal to throw off disguise.

But it also worked to unsettle the reader’s assumptions about meaning through semantic and syntactic instabilities that link the duplicity of signs not to abstract or ontological conditions so much as to social ones. In grafting Mortmere onto his own private landscape, Auden created a textual arena where the reader is forced to think like a spy because the poet is one himself. qxd 5/10/01 14:12 Page 31 sexual politics and coterie poetry 31 ii The remainder of this chapter considers how Auden’s early poems adapt the techniques of Mortmere for a game of knowledge with the reader as potential lover.

But while self-censorship is one result of constraints on expression, the Auden group’s resistance against censorship left traces in their published work, both as an encoded subject and as the impetus for certain discursive practices. Sedgwick has argued that “ignorances, far from being pieces of the originary dark, are produced by and correspond to particular knowledges and circulate as part of particular regimes of truth” (Epistemology 8). Silences under a regime of censorship are not simply hollow: they are silences about something and invite interpretation.

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Auden's Games of Knowledge: Poetry and the Meanings of Homosexuality by Richard R. Bozorth


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