Funeral Blues Auden Essay

Funeral Blues Auden Essay-63
The volume also contains ‘Refugee Blues’, a song of displacement voiced by a German Jew; and, as though to imply a predicament that is universal and not specific to any one historical crisis, ‘Roman Wall Blues’, in which a soldier stationed on Hadrian’s Wall laments his loveless, uprooted lot in gruff, taciturn lines: ‘I’m a Wall soldier, I don’t know why’.The impossibilities poignantly urged upon the universe in ‘Funeral Blues’ – ‘Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun’ – call to mind the similar catalogue of surreal not-happenings of which the romantically deluded lover sings in ‘As I walked out one evening’, 35 pages earlier in the book: This lovely exuberance is checked by the voice of experience: ‘O let not Time deceive you, / You cannot conquer Time’.Published under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Licence. You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

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Published under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Licence. Christopher Isherwood: Copyright © Katherine Bucknell and Don Bachardy 2012, used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited.

Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

He doesn’t want to be disturbed by the world around him and his personal grief dwarfs the concerns of the world.

By the third stanza, it becomes clear that he has lost a lover, someone who meant everything to him.

The last three stanzas in the Hold up your umbrellas to keep off the rain From Doctor Williams while he opens a vein; Life, he pronounces, it is finally extinct. Shawcross will say a few words sad and kind To the weeping crowds about the Master-Mind, While Lamp with a powerful microscope Searches their faces for a sign of hope. Christopher Isherwood: Copyright © Katherine Bucknell and Don Bachardy 2012, used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited.

The poem is a ragged, satirically pantomimic version of the ostentatious trumpery involved in a state funeral: ‘Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead / Scribbling on the sky the message: He is dead.’ Auden has in mind something like Tennyson’s great ‘Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington’: ‘Let us bury the Great Duke / To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation,’ but the complete oratorical accomplishment of Tennyson’s verse is here breaking down into stumbling rhythms and ludicrously unheroic gestures. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

The cover featured an image of Hugh Grant at his most fetching, as well as the name of the film in the flowery script used on the posters, and this obviously made up an enticing offer since, according to Edward Mendelson, Auden’s greatest scholar and his literary executor, the pamphlet sold some 275,000 copies. As it happens, the politics of Coward’s play pointed in the opposite direction to Auden’s, but both deployed the blues to striking effect; and Britten’s setting brings out an emotional complexity that you might not have expected from the knockabout quality of Auden’s lines as they appear on their own.

And Gunn, of course, will drive the motor-hearse: None could drive it better, most would drive it worse. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

Hannah reads the lines falteringly and with due poignancy: it is a touching portrayal of an intimate bereavement, and there is not a dry eye in the house. Anonymous photographer: This material is in the Public Domain. The music for the show was provided by the 22-year-old English composer Benjamin Britten, and his setting of the lines sung after the death of Sir James was a particular success.

In the wake of the film’s extraordinary success, the publishers Faber moved swiftly to produce a little paperback book called , which contained 10 of Auden’s poems including ‘Funeral Blues’. Britten cast the lines as blues (as Auden’s stage direction stipulates), a form of music which was an American import, recently popularised by Noël Coward’s ‘Twentieth Century Blues’, the hit of the epic stage show , which had run for almost a year between 19 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and was subsequently made into a film.


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