ROBERT L. CHAPMAN
over the distance of thirty-five years and more. Additional testimony from several of Auden's faculty and staff colleagues furnishes a more grown-up view of the exotic man.
Professor Edwin Engel remembers an evening when Auden
was speaker at the Journal Club of the English Department
faculty. He recited a new poem, from memory, for about an hour.
Professor Engel recalls it as "Easily the most impressive gathering of the department in my memory!" He also remembers
Auden's saying, at various dinner parties, that he could "sense
immediately the nature of the house: good, evil, happy, miserable;" and Auden's weakness for Liederkranz cheese, which T.
S. Eliot had recommended to him. As members of the Ann Arbor
cooperative society, Engel and Auden enormously increased the
traffic in Liederkranz.
Miss Mary Cooley, who was just beginning her tenure as
assistant in the Hopwood Room (headquarters and library of
the Avery Hopwood literary prizes), remembers that students
would come into the Room for refreshment during the breaks
in Auden's class. "What he did to them during that class I don't
know but they always came down in a state of complete nervous
exhaustion. I think he put much more intellectual pressure on
them than they were prepared for and it nearly did them in."
Miss Cooley was present when Auden, along with two other
faculty members, contended with a team of "young geniuses"
on a "quiz kid" program: "... poor Auden was totally lost,
and couldn't even recognize one of his own poems which had
been introduced into the questions."
By far the most extensive and extraordinary set of reminiscences come from Albert K. and Angelyn Stevens. Professor
Stevens was a young member of the English Department in
1941-42, and his wife was a graduate student in philosophy and
assistant to Professor DeWitt Parker. They had three young
children, and a fourth was born not long after Auden left Ann
Arbor for his post at Swarthmore.
The Stevenses' notes consist of nine single-spaced pages, and
can only be sketchily represented here. I hope that they will
write their own account of their friendship with Auden for