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Auden and Christianity$
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Arthur Kirsch

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108149

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108149.001.0001

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Auden's Criticism

Auden's Criticism

(p.73) Chapter Three Auden's Criticism
Auden and Christianity

Arthur Kirsch

Yale University Press

This chapter describes how Auden followed no critical school whatsoever, proving that the occasional character of his criticism was deliberate. In his brief preface to The Dyer's Hand, he wrote, “A poem must be a closed system, but there is something, in my opinion, lifeless, even false, about systematic criticism.” He told Alan Ansen that he did not write out his lectures on Shakespeare at the New School in New York in 1946–47 because “criticism is live conversation.” Much of the power of Auden's critical writing, and of the pleasure it gives, is due to its embodiment of these beliefs. At the same time, his criticism is deeply informed by his faith and is often an explicit testament to it.

Keywords:   critical school, systematic criticism, Shakespeare, closed system, Alan Ansen, live conversation

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