W. H. Auden taught at the University of Michigan during the 1941-42 academic year. Here’s a syllabus from one of his classes. Hey teachers: next time one of your students complains that your schedule is too demanding, show him or her this.
“2 hours credit”
The chart and its transcription that W.H. Auden handed out to the students who took his 1943 class at Swarthmore, ‘Romanticism from Rousseau to Hitler.’ The chart is something like everything Auden can think to say about the world.
‘Romanticism from Rousseau to Hitler’ was the second class Auden taught at Swarthmore. The final exam of the first (fall, 1942 ‘English Literature during the Reign of Elizabeth I’) consisted of only one question:
Explain why the devil is (a) sad and (b) honest.
W.H. Auden (via brysonian)
It’s as if Auden anticipated the genre of “glib startup advice” blogging.
So an age ended, and its last deliverer died
In bed, grown idle and unhappy; they were safe:
The sudden shadow of a giant’s enormous calf
Would fall no more at dusk across their lawns outside.
They slept in peace: in marshes here and there no doubt
A sterile dragon lingered to a natural death,
But in a year the spoor had vanished from the heath:
A kobold’s knocking in the mountain petered out.
Only the scupltors and the poets were half sad,
And the pert retinue from the magician’s house
Grumbled and went elsewhere. The vanished powers were glad
To be invisible and free; without remorse
Struck down the sons who strayed in their course,
And ravished the daughters, and drove the fathers mad.