THE ENCHAFED FLOOD by W. H. Auden

THE ENCHAFED FLOOD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A curious and provocative little book, this publication of three lectures delivered at the University of Virginia in 1949, subtitled The Romantic Iconography of the Sea. Actually, it is a fireworks display of the well known poet's erudition in the field of poetry and insight into symbols and psychology. The Sea, The Ship. The Tempest, The Outcast. The Hero these are some of the concepts he explores, with more of sensitive perception than coherence. He draws largely from Shakespeare, Byron, Baudelaire and above all. Herman Melville, to illustrate his points. This is more a series of suggestive notes than a well-integrated book. But, as always, Auden is brilliant. A small audience of Auden admirers, persons of intellectual curiosity interested in the role of symbols, and a few modern poets will provide the market for this volume. They will like it for its flashing insight rather than its sustained wisdom. Yet it has, now and again, a rare quality that perhaps we should listen to more attentively.

Publisher: Random House