W. H. Auden's Plays for the Group Theatre: From Revelation to Revelation


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Moments of revelation when we truly cry "Eurkeka" are never planned. They occur in odd places. "Revelation came to Luther in a privy," Auden wrote in "Thanksgiving for a Habitat" (CP, 526). And revelation apparently came to Auden himself, aged fifteen, in a ploughed field "one afternnon in March at half-past three": for having previously thought of himself as a potential mining-engineer, the chance remark of a school friend caused him that spring afternoon in 1922 to entertain the novel notion of poetry as a vocation:

But indecision broke off with a clean cut end One afternoon in March at half past three When walking in a ploughed field with a friend; Kicking a little stone, he turned to me And said, "Tell me, do you write poetry?" I never had, and said so, but I knew That very moment what I wished to do. (CP, 98)

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