Posts tagged "The Dyer’s Hand"

W.H. Auden on Humor and Caricature

W.H. Auden on Humor and Caricature

A couple more memorable observations from The Dyer’s Hand:

A sense of humor develops in a society to the degree that its members are simultaneously conscious of being each a unique person and of being all in common subjection to unalterable laws.

We enjoy caricatures of our friends because we do not want to think of their changing, above all, of their dying; we enjoy caricatures of our enemies because we do not want to consider the possibility of their having a change of heart so that we would have to forgive them.

On a related note, I find Auden’s Marginalia laugh-out-loud funny…

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Auden on Heroes, (Christian) Art and Wishing the Iconoclasts Had Won

Auden on Heroes, (Christian) Art and Wishing the Iconoclasts Had Won

A trio of gems from W.H. Auden’s essay on “Christianity and Art”, which can be found in the collection The Dyer’s Hand:

To a Christian, the godlike man is not the hero who does extraordinary deeds, but the holy man, the saint, who does good deeds. But the gospel defines a good deed as one done in secret, hidden, so far as it is possible, even from the doer, and forbids private prayer and fasting in public. This means that art, which by its nature can only deal with what can and should be manifested, cannot portray a saint. – pg…

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