Auden as a poet of love


Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) is not actually a poet of love. If we compare him with Keats, Shakespeare, and Donne from the sense of love, then Auden is totally different. But Auden has his own philosophy of love. He presents love as a means of dynamic change in this wasteland. We find mainly two phases of love throughout his poetic career.  

More Notes: W. H. Auden

Audens early phase of love  

Auden in his early poetic career believes in Freud’s concept of love. In this phase, he wrote poems based on physical love. The love that worships the beloved like a Goddess.   

Audens mature Love   

When Auden realized society and its reality, he becomes so much more realistic in writing poetry. Even in the field of love, his realistic attitude becomes traceable. In his mature phase of life, Auden uses love as a tool of social reformation. He adopted the Christian or religious concept of universal love. Here he realizes his love for humanity and love for God. Again, the qualities like personal, selfish, universal, and spiritual love are also illustrated by Auden.   

More Notes: Suggestions

Love as a tool of social reformation  

Auden represents love as a tool of social reformation. His love poetry is very beneficial for society. He wants to change the social environment through the shining power of love. Social taboos can be removed from society. For this sexual education is very important. Love can make society healthy. With the advancement of science and technology, love was only confined to poetry in the Victorian age. At that time love was not cultivated properly which caused so many social problems.  

Auden has given the exact picture of the social environment and the relationship between boys and girls. Auden believed that through love the social environment could be changed. Love can perform as a remedy. He writes,  

the word is love. 

Surely one fearless kiss would cure 

The million fevers, a stroking brush 

Universal love:

When Auden started to write poems from a religious viewpoint, his universal or humanistic love is exposed. This concept of love has been introduced to fill the gap among humans. Auden says,   

Love finally is great, Greater than all; but larger than hate, Far large than man can ever estimate 

This universal love should adopt by society. Then everyone will be submissive to their ego and it will lead to universal friendship.  

True and False love:

Auden speaks about true and False love while interpreting human nature in love. True love is spiritual but physical love is false. True love is the strength of the lovers that makes strong their mutual understanding. True love is free from ego, narrowness, or selfishness. True love gratified physical desires.  


Auden’s concept of love has wider significance based on the religious belief of Christianity. He is not in favor of unrealistic platonic love but in favor of universal love which can change the destiny of the whole universe. 

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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