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British Poet-Critic Dies At Age 86

Mon., July 17, 1995

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.

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