Books: From Cleverness to Wisdom

NONES (81 pp.)—W.H. Auden—Random House ($2.50).

Wystan Hugh Auden is a monstrous clever fellow. As an undergraduate at Oxford (1925-28) he was the most precocious of a literary set that included such precocities as Louis MacNeice, Stephen Spender, Christopher Isherwood, Cecil Day Lewis. These lads were esthetes-with-a-difference: instead of snubbing the grown-up world, they lit into it with sardonic and superior howls. At least one of them (Spender) went all the way to Communism before he got his second wind. Auden went even further—to the U.S.

Now, at 44, a U.S. citizen, an Anglo-Catholic, an earnest and pedantic scholar, Auden has become a...

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