This fourth volume of W. H. Auden's prose provides a unique picture of this legendary writer's mind and art when he was at the height of his powers, from 1956 through 1962, including the years when he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. The volume includes his best-known and most important prose collection, The Dyer's Hand, as well as scores of essays, reviews, and lectures on subjects ranging from J. R. R. Tolkien and Martin Luther to psychedelic drugs, cooking, and Homer. Much of the material has never been collected in book form, and some selections, such as the witty orations Auden wrote for ceremonies at Oxford University, are almost entirely unknown.
Edward Mendelson's introduction and comprehensive notes provide biographical and historical explanations of all obscure references. The text includes extensive corrections and revisions that Auden marked in personal copies of his work and which are printed here for the first time.