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Wystan Hugh Auden

The greatest 20th century poet in English.

Modern poetry is one of the strengths of the Library’s collections. The Auden Collection is particularly important and there is no comparable collection in Scotland. It is a scholarly collection of the writings of possibly the greatest 20th century poet in English.

The collection does not come from Auden (1907-1973) himself, although there are a number of signed copies. Many of the books were purchased in 1982 from Barry Bloomfield, the bibliographer of Auden. The collection formed the basis of 'W.H. Auden; a Bibliography, 1924-1969', by B.C. Bloomfield and E. Mendelson (Charlottesville, 1972), and contains copies of the majority of items listed in that work. Annotated copies of the bibliography are found at Auden.514-515. Both Bloomfield and Mendelson have donated books to the collection over the years, and we make occasional purchases in this area.

In the collection are many first editions in their original dust-jackets, privately-printed pamphlets and ephemera, and a comprehensive assembly of later editions and critical works. There are also portraits and large framed items including some explicit material.

In total there are some 800 volumes, all with shelfmarks starting “Auden”. Only those items acquired after 1983 are listed on the online catalogue (shelfmarks Auden.702 onwards).

The manuscript collections include autograph letters and typescript poems corrected in Auden’s hand (MS.3080); there is also Auden material in the A. H. Campbell Collection. A detailed listing is available in the Centre for Research Collections, Handlist H45. There is a further collection of material to do with the compilation of Bloomfield and Mendelson’s bibliography at Gen.2239.