Quotes Categories

W. H. Auden Quotes

(1907-1973), Anglo-American Poet

The critical opinions of a writer should always be taken with a large grain of salt. For the most part, they are manifestations of his debate with himself as to what he should do next and what he should avoid.

Category: Critics And Criticism

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

Category: Death And Dying

In a land which is fully settled, most men must accept their local environment or try to change it by political means; only the exceptionally gifted or adventurous can leave to seek his fortune elsewhere. In America, on the other hand, to move on and make a fresh start somewhere else is still the normal reaction to dissatisfaction and failure.

Category: Dissatisfaction

A doctor, like anyone else who has to deal with human beings, each of them unique, cannot be a scientist; he is either, like the surgeon, a craftsman, or, like the physician and the psychologist, an artist. This means that in order to be a good doctor a man must also have a good character, that is to say, whatever weaknesses and foibles he may have, he must love his fellow human beings in the concrete and desire their good before his own.

Category: Doctors

A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish.

Category: Dreams

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

Category: Evil

America has always been a country of amateurs where the professional, that is to say, the man who claims authority as a member of an Úlite which knows the law in some field or other, is an object of distrust and resentment.

Category: Experts

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.

Category: Eyes

Every European visitor to the United States is struck by the comparative rarity of what he would call a face, by the frequency of men and women who look like elderly babies. If he stays in the States for any length of time, he will learn that this cannot be put down to a lack of sensibility -- the American feels the joys and sufferings of human life as keenly as anybody else. The only plausible explanation I can find lies in his different attitude to the past. To have a face, in the European sense of the word, it would seem that one must not only enjoy and suffer but also desire to preserve the memory of even the most humiliating and unpleasant experiences of the past.

Category: Faces

My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.

Category: Faces

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?

Category: Faith

Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.

Category: Fame

Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.

Category: Friends And Friendship

Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.

Category: Genius

''God is Love,'' we are taught as children to believe. But when we first begin to get some inkling of how He loves us, we are repelled; it seems so cold, indeed, not love at all as we understand the word.

Category: God