The Age of Anxiety

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First edition (US)
(publ. Random House)

The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (1947; first UK edition, 1948) is a long poem in six parts by W. H. Auden, written mostly in a modern version of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse.

The poem deals, in eclogue form, with man's quest to find substance and identity in a shifting and increasingly industrialized world. Set in a wartime bar in New York City, Auden uses four characters – Quant, Malin, Rosetta, and Emble – to explore and develop his themes.

The poem won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1948.[1] It inspired a symphony by composer Leonard Bernstein, The Age of Anxiety (Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra), which in turn was used for both a 1950 ballet by Jerome Robbins and a 2014 ballet by Liam Scarlett.

A critical edition of the poem, edited by Alan Jacobs, was published by Princeton University Press in 2011.

"The Age of Anxiety" is also the title of the first chapter of The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts (1951).

In 2019, musician Pete Townshend's first novel was published. Its title is The Age of Anxiety.[2]


  1. ^ "The Age of Anxiety, by W. H. Auden (Random)". The Pulitzer Prizes. Columbia University. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  2. ^ Lyttle, John (7 December 2019). "Townshend's debut novel draws plenty of parallels to guitarist's rock 'n' roll lifestyle". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 16 December 2019.

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