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All works of art are commissioned in the sense that no artist can create one by a simple act of will but must wait until what he believes to be a good idea for a work comes to him.

W. H. Auden

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By the time of Auden's death in 1973 he had attained the status of a respected elder statesman. " Until he was fifteen he expected to become a mining engineer but his passion for words had already begun. His reconversion was influenced partly by what he called the "sainthood" of Charles Williams whom he had met in 1937 partly by reading Søren Kierkegaard and Reinhold Niebuhr; his existential this-worldly Christianity became a central element in his life.

After his death some of his poems notably "Funeral Blues" ("Stop all the clocks") "Musée des Beaux Arts" "Refugee Blues" "The Unknown Citizen" and "September 1 1939" became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films broadcasts and popular media. In the 1950s and 1960s many of his poems focused on the ways in which words revealed and concealed emotions and he took a particular interest in writing opera librettos a form ideally suited to direct expression of strong feelings. Wystan Hugh Auden (pron.

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