W. H. Auden

21 Jan 1907 // 29 Sep 1973


Next >>

Nature and Passion are powerful, but they are also full of grief. True happiness would have the calm and order of bourgeois routine without its utilitarian ignobility and boredom.

The Dyer's Hand
No poet can know what his poem is going to be like until he has written it.

The Dyer's Hand
The surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it.

The Dyer's Hand
The religious definition of truth is not that it is universal but that it is absolute.

Enchafed Flood
Lovers have lived so long with giants and elves, they won't believe again in their own size.

Letters from Iceland
The slogan of Hell: Eat or be eaten. The slogan of Heaven: Eat and be eaten.

A Certain World: A Commonplace Book
The commonest ivory tower is that of the average man, the state of passivity towards experience.

The Prolific and the Devourer
The basic stimulus to the intelligence is doubt, a feeling that the meaning of an experience is not self-evident.

Selected Essays
Every man carries with him through life a mirror, as unique and impossible to get rid of as his shadow.

The Dyer's Hand
What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.

The Dyer's Hand
Next >>


On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."