Zitate von W. H. Auden

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W. H. Auden

Geburtstag: 21. Februar 1907
Todesdatum: 29. September 1973
Andere Namen:W.H. Auden

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Wystan Hugh Auden war ein englischer und seit 1946 ein amerikanischer Schriftsteller.

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Zitate W. H. Auden

„Wir fürchten uns wohl vor dem Schmerz, // Mehr aber vor der Stille, denn kein grausamer Alpdruck // Könnte furchtbarer sein als diese Öde. // Dies ist die Verdammnis. Dies ist der Zorn Gottes.“

— W. H. Auden
Weihnachtsoratorium. Zitiert in: Adalbert Schmidt. Literaturgeschichte. Wege und Wandlungen moderner Dichtung. Salzburg Stuttgart, Das Bergland-Buch, 1957. S. 397

„Vergnügen ist keineswegs ein unfehlbarer kritischer Leitfaden, doch ist es der am wenigsten fehlbare.“

— W. H. Auden
Des Färbers Hand und andere Essays. Deutsch von Fritz Lorch. Gütersloh Sigbert Mohn ohne Jahr (1962?), Prolog. Lesen. S. 17

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„Manche Bücher geraten unverdient in Vergessenheit; unverdient ins Gedächtnis zurückgerufen wird keines.“

— W. H. Auden
Des Färbers Hand und andere Essays. Deutsch von Fritz Lorch. Gütersloh Sigbert Mohn ohne Jahr (1962?), Prolog. Lesen. S. 23

„In most poetic expressions of patriotism, it is impossible to distinguish what is one of the greatest human virtues from the worst human vice, collective egotism.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: In most poetic expressions of patriotism, it is impossible to distinguish what is one of the greatest human virtues from the worst human vice, collective egotism. The virtue of patriotism has been extolled most loudly and publicly by nations that are in the process of conquering others, by the Roman, for example, in the first century B. C., the French in the 1790s, the English in the nineteenth century, and the Germans in the first half of the twentieth. To such people, love of one's country involves denying the right of others, of the Gauls, the Italians, the Indians, the Poles, to love theirs. "C.P. Cavafy", p. 341

„The mystics themselves do not seem to have believed their physical and mental sufferings to be a sign of grace, but it is unfortunate that it is precisely physical manifestations which appeal most to the religiosity of the mob.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: The mystics themselves do not seem to have believed their physical and mental sufferings to be a sign of grace, but it is unfortunate that it is precisely physical manifestations which appeal most to the religiosity of the mob. A woman might spend twenty years nursing lepers without having any notice taken of her, but let her once exhibit the stigmata or live for long periods on nothing but the Host and water, and in no time the crowd will be clamoring for her beatification. "The Protestant Mystics", p. 72

„Man … always acts either self-loving, just for the hell of it, or God-loving, just for the heaven of it; his reasons, his appetites are secondary motivations.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: Man … always acts either self-loving, just for the hell of it, or God-loving, just for the heaven of it; his reasons, his appetites are secondary motivations. Man chooses either life or death, but he chooses; everything he does, from going to the toilet to mathematical speculation, is an act of religious worship, either of God or of himself. Lastly by the classical apotheosis of Man-God, Augustine opposes the Christian belief in Jesus Christ, the God-Man. The former is a Hercules who compels recognition by the great deeds he does in establishing for the common people in the law, order and prosperity they cannot establish for themselves, by his manifestation of superior power; the latter reveals to fallen man that God is love by suffering, i. e. by refusing to compel recognition, choosing instead to be a victim of man's self-love. The idea of a sacrificial victim is not new; but that it should be the victim who chooses to be sacrificed, and the sacrificers who deny that any sacrifice has been made, is very new. Assessing St. Augustine's perspectives in "Augustus to Augustine", p. 37

„Machines have no political opinions, but they have profound political effects. They demand a strict regimentation of time, and, by abolishing the need for manual skill, have transformed the majority of the population from workers into laborers.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: Machines have no political opinions, but they have profound political effects. They demand a strict regimentation of time, and, by abolishing the need for manual skill, have transformed the majority of the population from workers into laborers. There are, that is to say, fewer and fewer jobs which a man can find a pride and satisfaction in doing well, more and more which have no interest in themselves and can be valued only for the money they provide. "A Russian Aesthete", p. 279

„A craftsman knows in advance what the finished result will be, while the artist knows only what it will be when he has finished it.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: A craftsman knows in advance what the finished result will be, while the artist knows only what it will be when he has finished it. But it is unbecoming in an artist to talk about inspiration; that is the reader's business. "A Poet of the Actual", p. 265

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„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
Context: 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. This is bad for everyone; the majority lose all genuine taste of their own, and the minority become cultural snobs. "The Poet & The City", p. 83

„Money is the necessity that frees us from necessity.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: Money is the necessity that frees us from necessity. Of all novelists in any country, Trollope best understands the role of money. Compared with him even Balzac is a romantic. "A Poet of the Actual", p. 266

„The idea of a sacrificial victim is not new; but that it should be the victim who chooses to be sacrificed, and the sacrificers who deny that any sacrifice has been made, is very new.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: Man … always acts either self-loving, just for the hell of it, or God-loving, just for the heaven of it; his reasons, his appetites are secondary motivations. Man chooses either life or death, but he chooses; everything he does, from going to the toilet to mathematical speculation, is an act of religious worship, either of God or of himself. Lastly by the classical apotheosis of Man-God, Augustine opposes the Christian belief in Jesus Christ, the God-Man. The former is a Hercules who compels recognition by the great deeds he does in establishing for the common people in the law, order and prosperity they cannot establish for themselves, by his manifestation of superior power; the latter reveals to fallen man that God is love by suffering, i. e. by refusing to compel recognition, choosing instead to be a victim of man's self-love. The idea of a sacrificial victim is not new; but that it should be the victim who chooses to be sacrificed, and the sacrificers who deny that any sacrifice has been made, is very new. Assessing St. Augustine's perspectives in "Augustus to Augustine", p. 37

„I do not believe an artist's life throws much light upon his works. I do believe, however, that, more often than most people realize, his works may throw light upon his life.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: I said earlier that I do not believe an artist's life throws much light upon his works. I do believe, however, that, more often than most people realize, his works may throw light upon his life. An artist with certain imaginative ideas in his head may then involve himself in relationships which are congenial to them. "The Greatest of the Monsters", p. 247

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„He suffers from one great literary defect, which is often found in lonely geniuses: he never knows when to stop.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: He suffers from one great literary defect, which is often found in lonely geniuses: he never knows when to stop. Lonely people are apt to fall in love with the sound of their own voice, as Narcissus fell in love with his reflection, not out of conceit but out of despair of finding another who will listen and respond. On Søren Kierkegaard, in "A Knight of Doleful Countenance", p. 192

„Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic.“

— W. H. Auden
A misquotation of a haiku by Auden found elsewhere on this page ("Thoughts of his own death" etc.)

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