What W. H. Auden Can Do for You
by Alexander McCall Smith
Editor: Princeton University Press
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HAudenIt’s no coincidence McCall Smith has long been fascinated by Auden.Indeed, the novelist, known for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, calls the poet not only the most literary discovery of his life, but also the best of guides on how to live.In this book, McCall Smith wrote a charming personal account on this Auden did for him, and what he could do for you.The part of the self-portrait, literary part, appreciation, the book tells how McCall Smith first came through the work of the poet in the 1970s, while the teaching of law in Belfast, violently separated from the city where Auden “on September 1,1939,” a poem on the outbreak of the Second World War, strongly resonatedMcCall Smith continues to reveal how his life has been linked and inspired by other Auden’s poems since then.For example, he explains how he found a precious reflection on the life of the ephemeral “Comme je me Promenais Un Soir, while” Le Plus Aimant” provided a revelator of the meditation on love.McCall Smith shows how Auden can talk to us throughout life, suggesting how, despite difficulties and changes, we can celebrate understanding, acceptance and love for others.A charming story about how art can help us live, this book will appeal to McCall Smith fans and anyone curious about Auden.
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