Quotes by: W. H. Auden

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Wystan Hugh Auden
Auden in 1939 (from the Library of Congress)
Born Wystan Hugh Auden
(1907-02-21)21 February 1907
York, England
Died 29 September 1973(1973-09-29) (aged 66)
Vienna, Austria
Residence York, Birmingham, Oxford (UK); Berlin (Germany); Helensburgh, Colwall, London (UK); New York, Ann Arbor, Swarthmore (US); Ischia (Italy); Kirchstetten (Austria); Oxford (UK)
Citizenship British from birth, American from 1946
Education M.A. English language and literature
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Occupation Poet
Spouse(s) Erika Mann (unconsummated marriage, 1935, to provide her with a British passport)
Relatives George Augustus Auden (father), Constance Rosalie Bicknell Auden (mother), George Bernard Auden (brother), John Bicknell Auden (brother)

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.
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
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
A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.
W. H. Auden
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.
W. H. Auden
The countenances of children, like those of animals, are masks, not faces, for they have not yet developed a significant profile of their own.
W. H. Auden
In relation to a writer, most readers believe in the Double Standard: they may be unfaithful to him as often as they like, but he must never, never be unfaithful to them.
W. H. Auden
We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know.
W. H. Auden
We all have these places where shy humiliations gambol on sunny afternoons.
W. H. Auden
No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
W. H. Auden
Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.
W. H. Auden
One cannot walk through an assembly factory and not feel that one is in Hell.
W. H. Auden
A poet can write about a man slaying a dragon, but not about a man pushing a button that releases a bomb.
W. H. Auden
It's frightening how easy it is to commit murder in America. Just a drink too much. I can see myself doing it. In England, one feels all the social restraints holding one back. But here, anything can happen.
W. H. Auden
'Healing,' Papa would tell me, 'is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.'
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
Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.
W. H. Auden
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