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W. H. Auden

1907-1973. Wystan Hugh Auden. English-born poet and man of letters who achieved early fame in the 1930s as a hero of the left during the Great Depression.

Books by 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.

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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.

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To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself. Whenever a man so concentrates his attention -- on a landscape, a poem, a geometrical problem, an idol, or the True God -- that he completely forgets his own ego and desires, he is praying. The primary task of the schoolteacher is to teach children, in a secular context, the technique of prayer.

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We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.

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A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.

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Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.

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Slavery is so intolerable a condition that the slave can hardly escape deluding himself into thinking that he is choosing to obey his master's commands when, in fact, he is obliged to. Most slaves of habit suffer from this delusion and so do some writers, enslaved by an all too ''personal'' style.

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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.

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Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.

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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.

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