Talk:W. H. Auden

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the W. H. Auden page.

September 1, 1939[edit]

Is this the whole or a significant portion of the text of the poem? If so, it does not belong in Wikiquote. See What Wikiquote is not. Nanobug 23:43, 17 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It is a portion. No portion of any statement, whether poetic or not, can be counted entirely insignificant. Here is a link to a site with the entire text of the poem.
If it was insisted upon, the first two passages quoted could be left out in favor of the more famous and significant lines that come towards the end, but I feel the introductory lines help put the final ones into the full context of the tragedies unfolding in his times, and that have occured in many ages, including our own. —Kalki 2003·08·18 19:44 »
Ahh, a different usage of the word significant than I was thinking of at the time. Of course, I would never be so bold as to suggest that any part of a work was not significant, quite the contrary. I was merely pondering copyright issues. We probably should come up with some guidelines in line with generally agreed international copyright laws, relating to how much of a work can be quoted before violating copyright. Nanobug 21:11, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Published sources should be provided before moving these back into the article
  • Never fall into the trap of false even-handedness. When two people are arguing and one of them is telling outrageous lies, don't split the difference and call both of them liars.

Restoring images recently removed in gradual but massive deletion over the last couple of weeks[edit]

Without Art, we should have no notion of the sacred; without Science, we should always worship false gods.
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountains start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
A craftsman knows in advance what the finished result will be, while the artist knows only what it will be when he has finished it.
Young people, who are still uncertain of their identity, often try on a succession of masks in the hope of finding the one which suits them — the one, in fact, which is not a mask.

The last few edits made to this page by Macspaunday (talk · contributions) have had edit summaries listed below, apparently to justify the gradual but massive removal of images in several different sessions over the last couple of weeks, some of which had existed on the page for quite some time, and some of which he or she has intermittently attempted to remove since 4 September 2010‎, with new rationales which appear to me to often be quite shallow, conflicting and contradictory.

Though recently, largely because of a greater urgency on matters of far greater importance, there are some deferences I have made to the lack of rational, intellectual and imaginative capacities of some people, because I simply do not have enough time to take on all forms of suppressive aggression that can arise in various places, I do have the time to presently restore these images, and the will to contend about the urge to suppress and deny the relevance of anything but the most obvious associations that can be made — or to even exclude some of them by some contrary criteria, as "too obvious" — which simply seems to be a manifestation of a general hostility to the use of images, which a very few people with aggressively obstructive will seem to have.

In the recent spate of massive removals of sometimes long used images "please do not restore" has been a rather excessive mantra — any vandal might say as much with as much apparent sincerity as they delete and remove the contributions of others, which have sometimes been on the page for years. I will simply request that such concerted removals of page augmentation intended to increase interest to Auden's statements or what they allude to not be resumed, and no matter how "polite" one attempts to make it seem — or how abjectly submissive and acceptive one insists others be in responding to it, such an act of TOTAL DISMISSAL of the WORTH of others efforts to enhance the general appeal of the page, and increase interest in many of the statements and ideas Auden presents.

I here present the commentaries made in the edit summaries, and a few brief responses I make to them, as I prepare to revert the massive deletions which have been made:

22:22, 13 March 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ . . (37,690 bytes) (-161)‎ . . (→‎The Dyer's Hand, and Other Essays (1962): Remove image of Thetis and Zeus from quotation about art and science; please do not restore.) (undo)
the image that is being removed was one which used this as a caption, which anyone one who does not have severe intellectual and imaginative incapacities and many forms of mental constipation should be able to recognize as apt pairing with such an image: "Without Art, we should have no notion of the sacred; without Science, we should always worship false gods." The arrogant removal of art and the disregard for any indications of the worth of the knowledge and sciences of others seem to mark this as extraordinarily bold desecration of the very principles indicated by Auden in his poem. I refuse to worship the false gods of ignorance and vacuity of those who apparently look upon many arts or sciences beyond their limited ken to be things to be removed from the easy access of anyone not quite so dull as they.
22:21, 13 March 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ . . (37,851 bytes) (-178)‎ . . (→‎In Memory of W.B. Yeats (1939): Remove picture of stone on ice from quote about deserts and fountains. Please do not restore.) (undo)
as the apparently vapid assessment quite significantly fails to note, the image removed is named "Heart Flow" and seems to be a heart-shaped pink quartz stone upon a background of what appears to be ink flows; it accompanies the quote: "In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountains start, In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise." I hope that all who have so barren a heart or mind as to find no significant associations between such words or such an image might somehow escape the prison of their days enough to learn to praise that which currently is beyond them.
20:24, 7 March 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ . . (38,029 bytes) (-171)‎ . . (→‎Spain (1937): Quotation about blossoms, sandbags, army illustrated irrelevantly by flag; please do not restore image.) (undo)
the caption speaks not "of blossomes" but that "Our moments of tenderness blossom" and "Our hours of friendship into a people's army" and the poem illustrated is "Spain" (1937) which refers to the Spanish Civil War, as does the illustration of the flag of the "people's army" of anarchist - socialist alliances fighting against the fascists — I can concede that this is actually NOT one of the best matches which might be found, and welcome any better suggestions that might be offered, but even as it is, I believe it could at least spark some interest and comprehension where its absence prompts only vacuity.
20:23, 7 March 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ . . (38,200 bytes) (-225)‎ . . (→‎Forewords and Afterwords (1973): Remove image of actual mask from image about "mask" in sense of a personal manner, not anything visual. Please do not restore.) (undo)
obviously Auden was speaking metaphorically, but metaphorically uses mention of a mask, and so why should their be any strong objections to an also metaphorical image of a very evocative mask popular among many young people which draws attention to his statement about masks of the young?
20:22, 7 March 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ . . (38,425 bytes) (-193)‎ . . (→‎Forewords and Afterwords (1973): Remove irrelevant image of pulsar from quotation about craftsmen and artists. Please do not restore.) (undo) I suppose that any person who is extremely lacking in imaginative capacities might dismiss the image as an "irrelevant image of pulsar" without any thoughts sparked in their dull minds as to the craftsmen and artists involved in taking developing the image, and taking note of it — and presenting it to others who actually have imaginations that are not extremely constipated or heavily inclined to dismiss the work or worth of others.
20:20, 7 March 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ . . (38,618 bytes) (-103)‎ . . (→‎The More Loving One (1957): Poem has no nebula; removed image of nebula. Please do not restore.) (undo)
"Poem has no nebula" —this seems quite a facetious observation to make — as the image has a star shining through a nebula, and the caption to the poem "The More Loving One" states : How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me. The deletion of such an image appears to mark a mind or mood of persons with little capacity to love those with more capacity to love than they — let alone anything which loves less.
20:18, 7 March 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ m . . (38,721 bytes) (-139)‎ . . (→‎September 1, 1939 (1939): Remove picture with completely different image from poem. Please do not restore.) (undo)
The caption used to the image was "Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die." — and the image used is one of an embraced heart — usually taken as a symbol of Love, which Auden in all variants of the poem indicates to be a Necessity.
19:18, 28 February 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ m . . (38,860 bytes) (-175)‎ . . (→‎Paris Review interview (1972): Remove image that visualizes what the quote says can't be verbalized. Please do not restore.) (undo)
Auden statement used in the caption: " I don't think the mystical experience can be verbalized. When the ego disappears, so does power over language." The image can perhaps be said to SYMBOLIZE or EVOKE something, NOT necessarily "visualize" it — any more than do words which insist on the Reality of something that cannot be verbalized.
19:15, 28 February 2012‎ Macspaunday (Talk | contribs)‎ m . . (39,035 bytes) (-296)‎ . . (→‎Spain (1937): Remove illustrations with exactly opposite meaning from text. Please do not restore.)
The image deleted was a representation of a famous piece of art on the turmoil and tragedy of the Spanish Civil War, and the ambiguous but I believe appropriate caption to it was hardly anything close to an "exactly opposite meaning" to the image: "Intervene. Descend as a dove or A furious papa or a mild engineer, but descend." As with another image used with this poem, the connections here too, might be somewhat tenuous, but the connections with significant arts and expressions related to that time and place and events of that war I believe justify their retention, unless better pairings of words and images can be found or developed.

I do not attempt to give a thorough analysis of this or any other situation, nor of all the reasons I find the images and captions worthy of note or applicable in various ways with each other, but I have given what I hope will be an adequate indication of why these attempts at massive removals should not be accepted. ~ Kalki·· 05:11, 14 March 2012 (UTC) + tweaks

Note: There is a general discussion about the relevance of images at Wikiquote talk:Image use policy. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:57, 14 March 2012 (UTC)