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W. H. Auden – 31 Quotes

 

31 Quotes by W. H. Auden

 

Now is the age of anxiety.

– W. H. Auden


Art is born of humiliation.

– W. H. Auden


Learn from your dreams what you lack.

– W. H. Auden


Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic.

– W. H. Auden


Music is the best means we have of digesting time.

– W. H. Auden


Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.

– W. H. Auden


A professor is someone who talks in someone else’s sleep.

– W. H. Auden


Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.

– W. H. Auden


Music can be made anywhere, is invisible and does not smell.

– W. H. Auden


The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living.

– W. H. Auden


A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.

– W. H. Auden


‘Healing,’ Papa would tell me, ‘is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.’

– W. H. Auden


No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.

– W. H. Auden


A verbal art like poetry is reflective it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.

– W. H. Auden


Of all possible subjects, travel is the most difficult for an artist, as it is the easiest for a journalist.

– W. H. Auden


History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.

– W. H. Auden


When I find myself in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a room full of dukes.

– W. H. Auden


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.

– W. H. Auden


It’s a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.

– W. H. Auden


I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.

– W. H. Auden


It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.

– W. H. Auden


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.

– W. H. Auden


Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one.

– W. H. Auden


The class distinctions proper to a democratic society are not those of rank or money, still less, as is apt to happen when these are abandoned, of race, but of age.

– W. H. Auden


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.

– W. H. Auden


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.

– W. H. Auden


Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.

– W. H. Auden


May it not be that, just as we have to have faith in Him, God has to have faith in us and, considering the history of the human race so far, may it not be that ‘faith’ is even more difficult for Him than it is for us?

– W. H. Auden


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.

– 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.

– W. H. 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.

– W. H. Auden


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