Eighty years on from the start of the Second World War, Sam's guest in this week’s podcast is Ian Sansom — who’s talking about 'September 1, 1939', the Auden poem that marked the beginning of that war. Ian’s new book is a 'biography' of the poem, and he talks about how it showcases all that is both best and worst in Auden’s work, how Auden first rewrote and then disowned it, and how Auden’s posthumous reputation has had some unlikely boosters in Richard Curtis and Osama Bin Laden.
Spectator Books is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes of Spectator Books here