New Selected Journals, 1939-1995

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ISBN 9780571237579 Format Hardback
9780571237579
Paperback
Published 05/07/2012 Length 816 pages
816

About Book

Private faces in public places
Are wiser and nicer
Than public faces in private places.

W.H. Auden, dedication to Stephen Spender, 1932

Stephen Spender wrote almost a million words of journal entries between his September Journal in 1939 and his death in 1995. In choosing from these voluminous journals for the new edition, the editors have tried to provide a picture of the various lives Spender brought together in autobiographical form.

The earlier 1985 edition of the Journals was overseen by the author, and it privileged his thoughts about poetry - his own and other people's. The new edition includes the final ten years of Spender's life and provides access to the more intimate thoughts and feelings of the private man, but equally documents his life as a public intellectual who played a part in shaping the European literary and intellectual culture of his age.

As we look back on the dramatic events of the twentieth century, we find that Spender was involved in many of them: the reconstruction of Germany and the construction of Europe (as Unesco's first Literary Councillor), the development of the cultural Cold War (as editor of Encounter), the founding of Israel, the anti-Vietnam movement in America. The Journals provide a personal version of sixty turbulent years of the twentieth century, hovering between diary, autobiography and history.

Private faces in public placesAre wiser and nicerThan public faces in private places.W.H. Auden, dedication to Stephen Spender, 1932Stephen Spender wrote almost a million words of journal entries between his September Journal in 1939 and his death in 1995. In choosing from these voluminous journals for the new edition, the editors have tried to provide a picture of the various lives Spender brought together in autobiographical form.The earlier 1985 edition of the Journals was overseen by the author, and it privileged his thoughts about poetry - his own and other people's. The new edition includes the final ten years of Spender's life and provides access to the more intimate thoughts and feelings of the private man, but equally documents his life as a public intellectual who played a part in shaping the European literary and intellectual culture of his age.As we look back on the dramatic events of the twentieth century, we find that Spender was involved in many of them: the reconstruction of Germany and the construction of Europe (as Unesco's first Literary Councillor), the development of the cultural Cold War (as editor of Encounter), the founding of Israel, the anti-Vietnam movement in America. The Journals provide a personal version of sixty turbulent years of the twentieth century, hovering between diary, autobiography and history.
  • About Stephen Spender

    Stephen Spender was born in 1909 and was educated at University College, Oxford, where his friends included W. H. Auden, C. Day Lewis, Louis MacNeice, Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward. His first book, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber & Faber in 1933. He went to Spain during the Civil War and worked as a Republican propagandist. With Cyril Connolly he founded Horizon in London in 1939, and co-edited it until he joined the National Fire Service in 1942. He founded Encounter with Irving Kristol in 1953 and was co-editor of the magazine until 1965. He spent much time in the USA where he was Visiting Professor at several universities. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1971, and was knighted in 1983. His oeuvre includes numerous volumes of poems concluding with Dolphins in 1994, plays, translations, novels, short stories, essays on art and literature, criticism, and journals. He died in London in 1995.

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