Wystan Auden

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Wystan Auden

Wystan Auden

Literary confessors are contemptible, like beggars who exhibit their sores for money, but not so contemptible as the public that buys their books.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Healing, Papa would tell me, is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
In a land which is fully settled, most men must accept their local environment or try to change it by political means; only the exceptionally gifted or adventurous can leave to seek his fortune elsewhere. In America, on the other hand, to move on and make a fresh start somewhere else is still the normal reaction to dissatisfaction and failure.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
All works of art are commissioned in the sense that no artist can create one by a simple act of will but must wait until what he believes to be a good idea for a work comes to him.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
God is Love, we are taught as children to believe. But when we first begin to get some inkling of how He loves us, we are repelled; it seems so cold, indeed, not love at all as we understand the word.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Proper names are poetry in the raw. Like all poetry they are untranslatable.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
America has always been a country of amateurs where the professional, that is to say, the man who claims authority as a member of an lite which knows the law in some field or other, is an object of distrust and resentment.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
If the most significant characteristic of man is the complex of biological needs he shares with all members of his species, then the best lives for the writer to observe are those in which the role of natural necessity is clearest, namely, the lives of the very poor.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
We are not commanded (or forbidden) to love our mates, our children, our friends, our country because such affections come naturally to us and are good in themselves, although we may corrupt them. We are commanded to love our neighbor because our natural attitude toward the other is one of either indifference or hostility.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
How happy the lot of the mathematician! He is judged solely by his peers, and the standard is so high that no colleague or rival can ever win a reputation he does not deserve. No cashier writes a letter to the press complaining about the incomprehensibility of Modern Mathematics and comparing it unfavorably with the good old days when mathematicians were content to paper irregularly shaped rooms and fill bathtubs without closing the waste pipe.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
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, Brnnhilde, is that each of them is a passionate and willful state of being. In real life they would all be bores, even Don Giovanni.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
I cannot accept the doctrine that in poetry there is a suspension of belief. A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
My deepest feeling about politicians is that they are dangerous lunatics to be avoided when possible and carefully humored; people, above all, to whom one must never tell the truth.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
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.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it: they must not do too much of it: and they must have a sense of success in it --not a doubtful sense, such as needs some testimony of others for its confirmation, but a sure sense, or rather knowledge, that so much work has been done well, and fruitfully done, whatever the world may say or think about it.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
When I am in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise, that this well-dressed young man is rich when he is really a penniless adventurer, or that if I do this such and such a result will follow when in fact it results in something very different. All good drama has two movements, first the making of the mistake, then the discovery that it was a mistake.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
You must go to bed with friends or whores, where money makes up the difference in beauty or desire.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
It is... axiomatic that we should all think of ourselves as being more sensitive than other people because, when we are insensitive in our dealings with others, we cannot be aware of it at the time: conscious insensitivity is a self-contradiction.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Precisely because we do not communicate by singing, a song can be out of place but not out of character; it is just as credible that a stupid person should sing beautifully as that a clever person should do so.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Dogmatic theological statements are neither logical propositions nor poetic utterances. They are shaggy dog stories; they have a point, but he who tries too hard to get it will miss it.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
One cannot walk through an assembly factory and not feel that one is in Hell.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
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.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Nobody knows what the cause is, though some pretend they do; it like some hidden assassin waiting to strike at you. Childless women get it, and men when they retire; it as if there had to be some outlet for their foiled creative fire.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The countenances of children, like those of animals, are masks, not faces, for they have not yet developed a significant profile of their own.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
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.More Wystan Auden [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
A poet can write about a man slaying a dragon, but not about a man pushing a button that releases a bomb.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:20]
A poet is a professional maker of verbal objects.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:24]
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:29]
A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:36]
A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:45]
All that we are not stares back at what we are.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:59]
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 goodsMore Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:11]
Art is born of humiliation.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:21]
Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:25]
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.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:31]
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.More Wystan Auden [11/21/2011 02:11:42]

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