By Arthur Kirsch
One of many 20th century’s most crucial poets, W. H. Auden stands as an eloquent instance of anyone inside whom concept and religion not just coexist yet certainly nourish one another. This booklet is the 1st to discover intimately how Auden’s spiritual religion helped him to come back to phrases with himself as an artist and as a guy, regardless of his early disinterest in faith and his homosexuality. Auden and Christianity indicates additionally how Auden’s Anglican religion informs, and is frequently the categorical topic of, his poetry and prose.Arthur Kirsch, a number one Auden student, discusses the poet’s boyhood spiritual adventure and the works he wrote prior to emigrating to the us in addition to his formal go back to the Anglican Communion initially of global conflict II. Kirsch then specializes in Auden’s feedback and on ignored and underestimated works of the poet’s later years. via insightful readings of Auden’s writings and biography, Kirsch files that Auden’s religion and his spiritual doubt have been the matrix of his paintings and existence.
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Extra info for Auden and Christianity
The demonic experience to which he refers was his response to the betrayal by his lover Chester Kallman. Auden had met Kallman, an American fourteen years his junior, in April 1939, after his emigration to the United States, had fallen in love, a love he had sought, he said, since he was a child, and had entered into a relationship with him that he regarded as the moral equivalent of a marriage. In July 1941 Kallman revealed that he had betrayed him with another lover. At some point afterward Auden apparently put his hands around Kallman’s throat while he was sleeping, but Kallman simply brushed him away.
Counting his blessings, however, was more than just Auden’s idiosyncratic response to his circumstances, selfcreated or otherwise. It also expressed his religious conviction that “happiness consists in a loving and trusting relation to God” and that it is “our eternal duty to be happy,” a duty to which “all considerations of pleasure and pain are subordinate. ” is the proper expression of gratitude. ” In his commencement address at Smith College, he remarked, “All freedom implies necessity, that is to say, suffering.
The Quest,” the twenty sonnets that follow “New Year Letter” in The Double Man, is Auden’s modern version of the epic or romantic quest for the Holy Grail. The sequence constitutes a search for a self which can find its integrity in faith, and it deals with many religious subjects, including sonnets on the three temptations of Christ as well as on a number of religious themes developed by Kierkegaard. ” It evokes the paradisal garden as well as the garden in which Augustine was converted to Christianity, the garden in which, as Williams wrote in a phrase that Auden echoes, “the universe for Augustine had shifted its centre”: Within these gates all opening begins: White shouts and flickers through its green and red, Where children play at seven earnest sins And dogs believe their tall conditions dead.