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August 31, 2008

The pages listed below provide links to some of the more famous, significant and/or notorious individuals and inter-relationships diagrammed in the "W. H. Auden: Family Ghosts" genealogical database.

Using these links, it is possible to see rapidly how Auden's family, especially on its maternal side, was profoundly entrenched in particular sectors of the "Intellectual Aristocracy" which Noel Annan identified as a fundamental presence in late 19th century and early 20th century British cultural life. (See N. G. Annan, "The Intellectual Aristocracy" in J. H. Plumb, ed., Studies in Social History: A Tribute to G. M. Trevelyan (London: Longmans, Green, 1955), 243-87.) Annan pointed to the densely developed family networks which linked Whig intellectuals with such prestigious names as Trevelyan, Macaulay and Stephen. Extending Annan's point, it is possible to see how even amongst less well-known families of the intellectual and financial elites existing connections helped to structure individual lives.

But the links below also take one back much further than the nineteenth century. It has been possible to trace Auden's family connections to figures as historically remote as Cerdic, the first King of the West Saxons, and Charlemagne, Emperor of Frankish Europe in the 8th century.

Inevitably, given the multi-dimensional nature of all lives, several names occur on more than one list.

Chock full o'Auden? Then inspect a few of the stranger, more poignant, extra-Audenesque relationships laid bare by "Family Ghosts":

Note: The distant family relationship of this database's compiler, Nicholas Jenkins (I5221), to W. H. Auden (I5) is diagrammed here.

Posted by njenkins at August 31, 2008 12:34 AM

With the exception of interspersed quotations, all writing is © 2007-09 by Nicholas Jenkins