A worker reads history and a historian writes poetry
in Poetry for historians
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

Historical novels do not carry any authority as historical statements about the periods to which they refer. Nevertheless, creative literature is valuable for the insight it offers into a writer's intellectual and social context; the popularity of authors in the past and the longevity of their work may be because they successfully articulated 'the values and preoccupations of literary contemporaries'. In 1960, E. P. Thompson produced a detailed reading of W. H. Auden's 'Spain 1937', declaring that the excisions and alteration that Auden made in the 1950s compromised his whole achievement as a poet. Thompson's 'Chemical Works I' is a song of what happens to human souls and psyches drowned in a relentless barrage of noise. Reading poetry is hard, and takes something out of a person. Reading history is so much easier, as the worker in Bertolt Brecht's 'A Worker Reads History' knew.

Poetry for historians

Or, W. H. Auden and history


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 146 79 17
Full Text Views 30 12 0
PDF Downloads 34 16 0