W. H. Auden Quotes

W. H. Auden Quotes: Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.
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W. H. Auden Quote: A poet, qua poet, has only one political duty, namely, in his own writing to set an example of the correct use of his mother tongue, which is always being corrupted. When words lose their meaning, physical force takes over.
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Quotes about W. H. Auden: Let us honor if we can the vertical man, though we value none but the horizontal one
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Quote about W. H. Auden: A shilling life will give you all the facts.
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W. H. Auden Sayings: The masculine imagination lives in a state of perpetual revolt against the limitations of human life. In theological terms, one might say that all men, left to themselves, become gnostics. They may swagger like peacocks, but in their heart of hearts they all think sex an indignity and wish they could beget themselves on themselves. Hence the aggressive hostility toward women so manifest in most club-car stories.
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W. H. Auden Saying: One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to us all, but perceived from a unique perspective. What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves.
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Sayings about W. H. Auden: If music in general is an imitation of history, opera in particular is an imitation of human willfulness; it is rooted in the fact that we not only have feelings but insist upon having them at whatever cost to ourselves. The quality common to all the great operatic roles, e.g., Don Giovanni, Norma, Lucia, Tristan, Isolde, Br?nnhilde, is that each of them is a passionate and willful state of being. In real life they would all be bores, even Don Giovanni.
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Saying about W. H. Auden: Christ did not enchant men; He demanded that they believe in Him: except on one occasion, the Transfiguration. For a brief while, Peter, James, and John were permitted to see Him in His glory. For that brief while they had no need of faith. The vision vanished, and the memory of it did not prevent them from all forsaking Him when He was arrested, or Peter from denying that he had ever known Him.
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W. H. Auden Quotes: To me Art's subject is the human clay, / And landscape but a background to a torso; / All Cezanne's apples I would give away / For one small Goya or a Daumier.
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W. H. Auden Quote: The condition of mankind is, and always has been, so miserable and depraved that, if anyone were to say to the poet:
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Quotes about W. H. Auden: In Brueghel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster, the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green water, And the expensive ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
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Quote about W. H. Auden: The relation of faith between subject and object is unique in every case. Hundreds may believe, but each has to believe by himself.
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W. H. Auden Sayings: If we apply the term revolution to what happened in North America between 1776 and 1829, it has a special meaning. Normally, the word describes the process by which man transforms himself from one kind of man, living in one kind of society, with one way of looking at the world, into another kind of man, another society, another conception of life.... The American case is different: it is not a question of the Old Man transforming himself into the New, but of the New Man becoming alive to the fact that he is new, that he has been transformed already without his having realized it.
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W. H. Auden Saying: Beauty, midnight, vision dies: Let the winds of dawn that blow Softly round your dreaming head Such a day of welcome show Eye and knocking heart may bless, Find our mortal world enough; Noons of dryness find you fed By the involuntary powers, Nights of insult let you pass Watched by every human love.
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Sayings about W. H. Auden: Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. The reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.
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Saying about W. H. Auden: Choice of attention - to pay attention to this and ignore that - is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.
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W. H. Auden Quotes: 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.
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W. H. Auden Quote: A doctor, like anyone else who has to deal with human beings, each of them unique, cannot be a scientist; he is either, like the surgeon, a craftsman, or, like the physician and the psychologist, an artist. This means that in order to be a good doctor a man must also have a good character, that is to say, whatever weaknesses and foibles he may have, he must love his fellow human beings in the concrete and desire their good before his own.
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