W.H. AUDEN, THE GOLDFISH, AND SWARTHMORE
AUDEN, W[YSTAN]. H[UGH]. (1907-1973) Anglo-American poet. Fine, rather early, Autograph Letter Signed, “Wystan Auden.” One full page, quarto. Undated [but 1942, preceding Auden’s arrival at Swarthmore]. “Friday / 1 Montague Terrace, Brooklyn Heights, NY.” To Mrs. Blanshard [Frances Blanshard, wife of Swarthmore philosopher Brand Blanshard]. Auden writes:
“It was very nice of you to write and I am very sorry to have missed you in New York, though I have been very rushed these last two days. I hope very much we shall meet again soon. Believe me it is not politeness when I say that I have never felt so at home with Americans as with you and Professor Blanshard, and of all my visits to American educational establishments, my week at Swarthmore was by far the most pleasant.
It was also nice to discover that Kohler [psychologist Wolfgang Kohler] is as great a man as I had always imagined him to be.
Back at the old routine but it’s difficult to keep one’s wits or one’s work with the situation as it is, isn’t it?
Please remember me to everyone, not forgetting the Goldfish, and success to “De Imitatime.” / Yours very sincerely / Wystan Auden.”
Auden’s long relationship with Swarthmore began in 1942, when he accepted the position of Guest Lecturer. Auden remained at the college until the end of the Second World War, but he maintained lifelong friendships with a number of his Swarthmore colleagues, including the Blanshards. Of Wolfgang Kohler, Auden would later write: “one of the greatest men I’ve ever met” (see Carpenter, “W.H. Auden, A Biography,” 1980). Very fine condition.