Books: Auden: The Sage of Anxiety

His face was as worn as the limestone landscape that he loved and praised, massive, brown, seamed like a walnut.

It might have belonged to a ravaged cigar-store Indian who lived too long and felt too deeply the weight of human weakness. His voice, lifting as it often did over lecture audiences in places like Fond du Lac, Wis., Ames, Iowa, or Cambridge, Mass., was high, flat and to some American ears, unnervingly British. His two grandfathers were Anglican clergymen. He studied biology at Oxford and at the end of his life held a...