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Rex Warner Biography

(1905–86), Poems, Poems and Contradictions, The Wild Goose Chase, The Professor, Trial of a Judge

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Richard Vaughan Biography to Rosanna Warren Biography

British poet, novelist, and translator, born in Gloucestershire, educated at Wadham College, Oxford. Much of Warner's Poems of 1937 was in recognizable alignment with the more declamatory writing of W. H. Auden and C. Day Lewis, whom he met at Oxford; in ‘Light and Air’ his political beliefs were inextricably linked to his vision of the benign energies of nature. Other poems related to his experiences of Egypt or formed celebratory studies of ornithic subjects. In the revised edition entitled Poems and Contradictions (1945), the ‘Contradictions’ sonnet sequence constitutes an intricate exposition of the elemental power of love. Warner's best-known novels show the influence of Kafka, particularly in their use of parable and symbolic action. The Wild Goose Chase (1937) contains an allegorical presentation of fascism in the form of a rugger match of which the outcome has already been decided; The Professor (1938), set in Central Europe, concerns a liberal humanist professor unable to challenge fascist forces, and resembles Stephen Spender's verse play Trial of a Judge (1938); and The Aerodrome: A Love Story (1941) is an allegory of fascism set in an English village. Warner also translated Aeschylus, Euripides, Plutarch, and George Seferis, among others.

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