The Poet & The Baroness

August 16, 2023

Michael O’Sullivan’s latest work soon to be published by CEU Press offers a new and intimate perspective on one of the 20th century’s greatest poets.

Poet W. H. Auden was a writer who sought a depth of clarity and unity in divided and confusing times. Now, on the 50th anniversary of his death, his work remains as relevant and prescient as it was in his own day. Central European University Press is proud to announce the publication of Michael O’Sullivan’s new work, The Poet & The Baroness, a book which offers an intimate perspective on Auden using the previously unpublished letters and private journals between the poet and Baroness Stella Musulin, a celebrated Welsh-Austrian intellectual and MI6 covert operative in Vienna before the Second World War.

Auden and Stella’s correspondence not only offers a uniquely candid and humane vantage on the poet, but invites readers into an intimate intellectual conversation between rare friends, all against the backdrop of Austria’s complex political, social, and cultural history during the Cold War years.

Michael O’Sullivan’s engagement with these materials also yields new critical insights into Auden’s last, prolific, creative period. While Auden’s ties to the UK and US have been thoroughly explored, The Poet & The Baroness sheds new light on the ‘Austrian Auden’ – not only his late experimentation with prose, essays and haiku poetry, but his personal reflections on identity, aging, friendship, and death.

The book is geared towards Auden scholars, academics in literature and poetry, literary history, anyone interested in mid-century poetry and biographical literature.

“Auden is one of those rare poets who not only managed to capture the conscience of his time, but his work has proven enduringly relevant across the humanities – from politics, to religion, to literary studies,” says Emily Poznanski, Director at CEU Press. “We’re excited to publish new research on such a seminal figure, especially work that shows his personal ties to Vienna and Central Europe more broadly.”

The Poet & The Baroness will be available in local and online bookshops on 1 Sept with a price of $30.95 / €29.95 / £25.95.
ISBN: 978-963-386-655-9