This project offers a fresh perspective on the later life and work of one of the most influential twentieth-century writers through newly available archival material.
From 1958 until his death in 1973, the Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973) spent extended periods of each year in the Lower Austrian village of Kirchstetten, where he wrote most of his late poetry. Central to his later life and work, Auden’s creative period in Austria, however, has only recently begun to attract scholarly interest. This project contributes to re-evaluating the ‘Austrian Auden.’ It will yield new insights into one of Auden’s most prolific creative periods and at the same time add a vital chapter to Austria’s complex political, social, and cultural history in the 1960s and 70s.
The relevance of Auden’s Austrian period in the writer’s biography and oeuvre is highlighted by his literary papers and letters in the estate of his closest Austrian friend and fellow expatriate, the Welsh-Austrian journalist and writer Stella Musulin (1915-1996). These previously inaccessible documents are being made available to international Auden scholarship through an open-access scholarly digital edition, which involves pioneering imaging technologies in collaboration with the Computer Vision Lab at TU Wien. This digital edition enables new, original Auden scholarship and offers a free resource to both specialist and interested non-specialist audiences.