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Wystan Hugh Auden (1907 – 1973)


Anglo-American poet noted for his vast poetic work in many forms on many themes.
Wystan Hugh Auden
In general, when reading a scholarly critic, one profits more from his quotations than from his comments.
Auden quotes
In terms of English and American poets, it would be quite just to call this The Age of Auden. Not only because Auden was such a dominant and successful poet, but because he went through all the contradictory ideological phases, from Marx to God. He really is representative in that sense.
Auden
Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another; they might also ask themselves how much poetry of any period they can honestly say that they understand.




Auden Wystan Hugh quotes
Without Art, we should have no notion of the sacred; without Science, we should always worship false gods.
Auden Wystan Hugh
I said earlier that I do not believe an artist's life throws much light upon his works. I do believe, however, that, more often than most people realize, his works may throw light upon his life. An artist with certain imaginative ideas in his head may then involve himself in relationships which are congenial to them.
Wystan Hugh Auden quotes
Marriage is rarely bliss
But, surely it would be worse
As particles to pelt
At thousands of miles per sec
About a universe
In which a lover's kiss
Would either not be felt
Or break the loved one's neck.
Wystan Hugh Auden
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Auden Wystan Hugh quotes
Most people are even less original in their dreaming than in their waking life; their dreams are more monotonous than their thoughts and oddly enough, more literary.
Auden
A god who is both self-sufficient and content to remain so could not interest us enough to raise the question of his existence.
Auden Wystan Hugh
Most people call something profound, not because it is near some important truth but because it is distant from ordinary life. Thus, darkness is profound to the eye, silence to the ear; what-is-not is the profundity of what-is.
Wystan Hugh Auden
The condition of mankind is, and always has been, so miserable and depraved that, if anyone were to say to the poet: "For God's sake stop singing and do something useful like putting on the kettle or fetching bandages," what just reason could he give for refusing? But nobody says this. The self-appointed unqualified nurse says: "You are to sing the patient a song which will make him believe that I, and I alone, can cure him. If you can't or won't, I shall confiscate your passport and send you to the mines." And the poor patient in his delirium cries: "Please sing me a song which will give me sweet dreams instead of nightmares. If you succeed, I will give you a penthouse in New York or a ranch in Arizona."




Wystan Hugh Auden quotes
Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.
Wystan Hugh Auden
Acts of injustice done
Between the setting and the rising sun
In history lie like bones, each one.
Auden quotes
In the late Middle Ages there were, no doubt, many persons in monasteries and convents who had no business there and should have been out in the world earning an honest living, but today it may very well be that there are many persons trying to earn a living in the world and driven by failure into mental homes whose true home would be the cloister.
Auden Wystan Hugh
Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse.
Auden Wystan Hugh quotes
Cold, impossible, ahead
Lifts the mountain's lovely head
Whose white waterfall could bless
Travellers in their last distress.
Wystan Hugh Auden
No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted.
Wystan Hugh Auden quotes
Minus times minus equals plus,
The reason for this we need not discuss.
Wystan Hugh Auden
When I find myself in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes.
Auden Wystan Hugh
The stars are dead. The animals will not look.
We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and
History to the defeated
May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon.


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