Is W.H. Auden really a modernist poet?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely. I think actually that W. H. Auden is one of the first names that springs to mind when I think of the word Modernism. Let us remember that it was Auden that entitled Modernism "The Age of Anxiety" which came to define the spirit of Modernism so strongly and the way that the aftermath of World War I raised serious existential questions about humanity and notions such as "civilisation" and "progress" which are captured by Modernist writers.

Many critics argue that Auden created poetry that it is difficult to separate. He was responsible for the creation of a body of work rather than separate entities, which created an "Audenesque" atmosphere that allowed the thriving of certain ideas and concepts that we relate to Modernism: the seeming anarchic chaos that descended upon the world after Victorian stability and the widespread disenchantment with human institutions.