• N. H. Reeve


Rex Warner (1905—86), whose writings deserve to be rescued from neglect, had a literary career in outline very similar to those of his better-known contemporaries. His education begins at a minor public school (St George’s, Harpenden) and is completed at Oxford in the mid-1920s; he becomes friendly there with Auden, shares many of his interests, and is subsequently regarded as a kind of associate member of the ‘Auden group’. He travels, teaches in various schools (being sacked from one, The Oratory School at Caversham, for political activity), and develops his rather unstable left-wing enthusiasms, which begin to subside as the 1930s draw to a close. His works are for a time keenly awaited and quite widely read,1 and their public profile helps in his eventual enlistment as a more trustworthy Establishment figure; he moves from eager Communist (who sold the manuscript of his first novel to raise Party funds), to Director of the British Institute in Athens, within the space of a few years. After the war he concentrates on a second career as a teacher and translator of the classics, and while his original writing continues to discuss political and moral issues, its occasions become increasingly withdrawn from modern life, with the consequent loss of most of the vitality and excursiveness of his earlier work.


Secret Society Wild Goose Original Writing Abstract Force Thoughtful Meditation 
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    Rod Mengham, ‘Smithereens: The Railway Accident and The Orators’, in Ideas and Production IV, 1985, p. 31.Google Scholar
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    Samuel Hynes, The Auden Generation London 1976, p. 15.Google Scholar
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    Maurice Bowra, Memories London 1966, p. 149.Google Scholar
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    C. Day Lewis, The Buried Day, London 1960, p. 220.Google Scholar
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    John Lehmann, The Whispering Gallery London 1955, pp. 246–7.Google Scholar
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    Monroe K. Spears, The Poetry of W. H. Auden: The Disenchanted Island, New York and Oxford 1963, p. 83.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© N. H. Reeve 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. H. Reeve
    • 1
  1. 1.University CollegeSwanseaUK

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