Sir Stephen Spender, poet, critic, essayist and one of the preeminent British writers of the 1930s, died Sunday at age 86.
Spender was a contemporary and friend of the poets W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Louis MacNeice and Cecil Day-Lewis. The group dominated British verse for decades.
Spender gained a reputation during the 1930s as a left-wing thinker, wrote poetry for the republican side in the Spanish Civil War, and briefly was a member of the Communist Party.
He described his disillusionment with the party in his celebrated 1949 book, “The God That Failed.” After World War II, he joined a liberal anti-Communist movement.