Auden’s attitude to religion

W.H. Auden (1907-1973) believed in God and Christianity. His religious outlook is found throughout his most celebrated poems.   

T.S. Eliot thought of religion as “the still point in the turning world,” “the heart of light,” and “the crowned knot of fire,”. To him, religion is something that remained inaccessible, perfect, and eternal, whether or not he or anyone else cared about it, something absolutely unlike the sordid transience of human life.  

More Notes: W. H. Auden 

W.H. Auden thought of religion as derived from the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”—an obligation to other human beings despite all their imperfections and his own, and an obligation to the inescapable reality of this world, not a visionary, inaccessible world that might or might not exist somewhere else.  

Auden’s iconic poem “Petition” is based on religion and his religious faith in God. In this poem, Auden seeks help in healing the ills in man. Again, to bring a revolutionary change in social order he seeks God’s help. He believed God was the supreme healer who can bring back other healers in this world. Jesus Christ, Homer, Marx, and Freud are recognized as the healers of mankind. They can help mankind to heal their physical and philosophical problems. Auden says in “Petition” that,  

Publish each healer that in city lives 

Or country houses at the end of drives; 

 Again, the poems like “The Shield of Achilles” and “Musee Des Beaux Arts” expresses Auden’s faith in God and Christianity. Auden’s Christianity shaped the tone and content of his poems and was for most of his life the central focus of his art and thought. It was also the aspect of his life and work that seems to have been the least understood by his readers.  

More Notes: Suggestions

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

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

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