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By Simon Trussler (auth.)

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The preface to The Bagman and the play itself chart the immediate circumstances of Arden's move from detachment to commitment in his life and work. Not surprisingly, however, even plays after this shift, The Island of the Mighty (on the Arthurian legends) and The Ballygombeen Bequest (on absentee landlordism and exploitation in Ireland) attest to Arden's virtuosity, the first being an epic of three very complex and poetic plays, and the latter a melodramatic but documented treatise. In addition to these works, Arden has written several plays for children, opera libretti, drama for television and radio, and fascinating criticism - in the often ample prefaces to the plays and in To Present the Pretence.

His reasons are interesting. Of the last stanza of"Spain"The stars are dead. The animals will not look. We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and History to the defeated May say alas but cannot help or pardon -he has said: "To say this is to equate goodness with success. There is nothing here which belies Auden's later conversion to Kierkegaard 's Christian existentialism: the belief that man is responsible for his acts, and must make his leap of faith in fear and trembling, knowing that it may be a wrong and corrosive choice.

Litany and Anthem for St. Matthew's Day. 1946. The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (produced 1954). 1947. Collected Shorter Poems 193(}-/944. 1950. Nones. 19 51. The Shield of Achilles. 1955. The Old Man's Road. 956. Reflections on a Forest. 1957. Goodbye to the Mezzogiomo (bilingual edition). 1958. Auden: A Selection by the Author. 959. Homage to Clio. 1960. Auden: A Selection, edited by Richard Hoggart. 1961. , music by Igor Stravinsky. 1964. The Common Life (in German, translated by Dieter Leisegang).

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