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September 1, 1939 Summary & Analysis
by W. H. Auden

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W.H. Auden's "September 1, 1939" was first published in the October 18, 1939, edition of The New Republic, before being included in the poet's collection Another Time. Written upon the outbreak of World War II, the poem captures feelings of fear and uncertainty in the face of fascism and war—as well as glimmers of hope that people might come together to counter authoritarianism. It is one of Auden's most well-known poems, and widely considered one of the greatest poems of the 20th century; ironically, however, the poet himself grew to despise it. Despite his disavowal of the poem, "September 1, 1939" remains a text to which people turn in times of crisis, including, famously, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

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