http://www.berfrois.com/2013/11/ron-rosenbaum-on-auden-larkin-and-love/ I don't understand the structure of the second half of this.

The stanza in which the line occurs is admittedly not his best, concerning itself as it does with the poet speaking truth to power in a self-congratulatory way.


The first thing that is probably giving you trouble is the construction concerning itself as it does. This is an instance of the general construction VERBing as SUBJECT DOtense,person, which is a way of saying since SUBJECT VERBtense,person (so much). Thus:

Disliking Bob as I do I will not vote on his promotion. = Since I dislike Bob so much I will not vote on his promotion.

Concerning itself as it does with ... = Since it concerns itself with ...

The other piece that may confuse you is speaking truth to power. Rosenbaum here uses the word power metonymically to represent the ironically capitalized entities ‘Authority’ and ‘the State’ in Auden's poem.

The sentence may be paraphrased, then:

The stanza in which the line occurs is admittedly not his best, since it shows Auden congratulating himself on bravely telling the powers-that-be a truth they do not want to hear.

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    It’s a book that recognizes the banal struggle of our daily lives and yet considers it nothing less than a tragedy that these lives, filled as they are not only with boredom but with fjords and cigarettes and works by Dürer, must all end in total annihilation. – user2492 Nov 17 '13 at 2:29
  • I found this here.(nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/dec/05/…) this has the same structure but it is not "because" but "although", I thought. Does this "ing as S does" also have the function of "although"? – user2492 Nov 17 '13 at 2:31
  • @kih1930 Yes, that's a nice paraphrase. – StoneyB Nov 17 '13 at 10:10

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