Books: End Game

EPISTLE TO A GODSON by W.H. AUDEN 77 pages. Random House. $5.

As a small boy before the first World War in England, one of W.H. Auden's great treats was a visit to the local gasworks with his nurse. Later, such things as tin mines and bridge engineering and mathematics turned him on. In fact, until Auden was halfway through Oxford, science remained his central interest.

But ambiguous feelings about it set in early. The poet's physician father, a Birmingham medical officer who used to stud his lectures on such public health innovations as the...

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