AUDEN, Wystan Hugh (1907-1973). Autograph manuscript notebook, [c. June-September 1940], a draft of his essay 'Mimesis and Allegory', with extensive cancellations and emendations, in pencil, the text primarily on rectos, though with frequent additions on facing versos, a few additional notes including 8 lines of drafts ('The cold of autumn comes on the water ...') for the Epilogue to 'New Year Letter', 36 leaves, 4to (7 leaves excised, of which one reinserted), in a notebook, cloth-backed card, stationer's label of E.J. McDonough & Co., Inc., Brooklyn.
A wartime lecture exploring the ways in which 'we expect art to be in some way or other like life' while '[a]t the same time the very name art implies that it is also in some way unlike life', concentrating particularly on the example of Wagner -- 'Before Proust or Joyce, it was Wagner who under the banner of realism re-created the world in his own image' -- ultimately linking 'discrepancies' in Wagner's allegory to an expression of the composer's own personal suffering. The present manuscript appears to be a first draft, and shows a number of differences from the published text, including significant unpublished material: in particular its first, unpublished, paragraphs link the essay's preoccupations to the fate of democracy after the fall of France in May/June 1940.
Auden delivered 'Mimesis and Allegory' as a lecture at the English Institute of Columbia University in September 1940, and it was published in the Institute's Annual for that year.