The poem deals, in eclogue form, with man's quest to find substance and identity in a shifting and increasingly industrialized world. Set in a wartime bar in New York City, Auden uses four characters – Quant, Malin, Rosetta, and Emble – to explore and develop his themes.
The poem won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1948. It inspired a symphony by composer Leonard Bernstein, The Age of Anxiety (Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra), which in turn was used for both a 1950 ballet by Jerome Robbins and a 2014 ballet by Liam Scarlett.
"The Age of Anxiety" is also the title of the first chapter of The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts (1951).
- "The Age of Anxiety, by W. H. Auden (Random)". The Pulitzer Prizes. Columbia University. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
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