Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) was an Anglo-American poet. Auden’s poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with politics, morals, love, and religion, and its variety in tone, form, and content. Some of his best known poems are about love, such as “Funeral Blues”; on political and social themes, such as “September 1, 1939” and “The Shield of Achilles”; on cultural and psychological themes, such as The Age of Anxiety; and on religious themes such as “For the Time Being” and “Horae Canonicae”. He came to wide public attention with his first book Poems at the age of twenty-three in 1930; it was followed in 1932 by The Orators. Three plays written in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood between 1935 and 1938 built his reputation as a left-wing political writer. Auden moved to the United States partly to escape this reputation, and his work in the 1940s, including the long poems “For the Time Being” and “The Sea and the Mirror”, focused on religious themes. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 1947 long poem The Age of Anxiety, the title of which became a popular phrase describing the modern era. From 1956 to 1961 he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford; his lectures were popular with students and faculty, and served as the basis for his 1962 prose collection The Dyer’s Hand. Auden and Isherwood maintained a lasting but intermittent sexual friendship from around 1927 to 1939, while both had briefer but more intense relations with other men. In 1939, Auden fell in love with Chester Kallman and regarded their relationship as a marriage, but this ended in 1941 when Kallman refused to accept the faithful relations that Auden demanded. However, the two maintained their friendship, and from 1947 until Auden’s death they lived in the same house or apartment in a non-sexual relationship, often collaborating on opera libretti such as that of The Rake’s Progress, to music by Igor Stravinsky. Auden was a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological, and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays, and other forms of performance. Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential, and critical views on his work ranged from sharply dismissive—treating him as a lesser figure than W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot—to strongly affirmative, as in Joseph Brodsky’s statement that he had “the greatest mind of the twentieth century”. After his death, his poems became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films, broadcasts, and popular media. We bring you the compilation of the best WH Auden Quotes, hope you like it.
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Nobody can honestly think of himself as a strong character because, however successful he may be in overcoming them, he is necessarily aware of the doubts and temptations that accompany every important choice. -W. H. Auden
When we do evil, We and our victims Are equally bewildered. -W. H. Auden
Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do. -W. H. Auden
Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered. -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
Man is a history-making creature who can neither repeat his past nor leave it behind. -W. H. Auden
The ear tends to be lazy, craves the familiar and is shocked by the unexpected; the eye, on the other hand, tends to be impatient, craves the novel and is bored by repetition. -W. H. Auden
Any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting and significant than any romance, however passionate. -W. H. Auden
My poetry doesn’t change from place to place – it changes with the years. It’s very important to be one’s age. You get ideas you have to turn down – ‘I’m sorry, no longer’; ‘I’m sorry, not yet.’ -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. -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. -W. H. Auden
Cathedrals, Luxury liners laden with souls, Holding to the east their hulls of stone. -W. H. Auden
Let us humour if we can The vertical man Though we value none But the horizontal one. -W. H. Auden
Choice of attention … 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
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About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; How well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along. -W. H. Auden
To be happy means to be free, not from pain or fear, but from care or anxiety. -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. -W. H. Auden
If we really want to live, we’d better start at once to try. -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
We hope this compilation of quotes took you out of your grim and helped you to reflect on yourself. There are times in our lives when pausing, getting to know who you are on a deeper level, and evaluating yourself and your progress can really open up all kinds of creative and inspirational pathways. Keep Hustling and Follow Quotes Inferno for more such quotes. Feel free to share your favorite with your friends or in the comments below.