Typed Letter Signed W. H. Auden to Stella Musulin 1966-02-03
PIDhttps://hdl.handle.net/21.11115/0000-000E-C309-C
AuthorAuden, W. H.
Editor(s)
  • Mayer, Sandra
  • Frühwirth, Timo
PublisherAustrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Vienna 2021
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Cite this Source (MLA 9th Edition)Andorfer Peter, Mayer Sandra, Frühwirth Timo, Mendelson Edward, Neundlinger Helmut and Stoxreiter Daniel. Auden Musulin Papers: A Digital Edition of W. H. Auden's Letters to Stella Musulin. Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2022, amp.acdh.oeaw.ac.at/amp-transcript__0004.html. Acessed Please activate JavaScript and reload page!.

W.H.Auden
77 St Mark's Place
New York City 3
New York IOOO3
U.S.A.

Air-Mail

Die Baronin
   Stella Musulin
     Fridau
      32oOO Obergrafendorf
        N.Ö.
         Austria

77 St Mark's Place
New  York City 3
New York IOOO3

Feb 3rd,I9656

                   Dear Stella:
       Many thanks for your nice long letter. Stephen has a genius for
    subtle misrepresentation. "Serious insistence on unseriousness'
    telescopes two cnvictuonsdistinct convictions of mine,falsifying both.
     I) I believe it to be a serious moral error when an artist overestimates
        the importance of art and,by implication,of himself. One must admit
        that the plotical political history of Euriope,with all itsthe same horrors,
        would be what it has been,if Dante,Shakespeare,Goethe,Titian,
        Moxzart,et al,had never existed.
    2) I believe that the only way in which,to-day at any rate,one can
       speak seroiu s eriously seriously about serious matters(the alternaticve
       is silence) is comically. I am surprised to hear from you that
       Jews find this hard to accept. I have enormously admired - and been
      influenced by - the tradition of Jewish humor. More than any other
      people,surely,they have seen in serious matters,that is to say,human
      suffering,and the contradictions of human existence,and the relation
      between man and God,occasions for humorous expression.
       e.g,: "If the rich could hire other people to die for them,the poor
     couold make a wonderful living", or "Truth rests with God alone,and
     a little bit with me",or "God will provide - ah,if only He wouold till
     He does so."
  So! you encountered the one-whose-name-we-never-mention. Why Chestrer should
 have been so foolish as  to invite him to a pearty,I cannot imagine. If he
is to be seen at all,he jymust be seen alone. Incidentally,next time you see
Chester,scold him a) for not writing to me b) for not answering Harrison's
cable.
 All well here.except for a leaking kitvchen roof. No doubt you read about
our Black-Out and Transit Strike.(My typewriter is on the blink,hence the
hiatuses.)  A firen friend of mine who teaches schyzophrenics,has a seventeen
year old girl who is interested in poetry. Asked what poets she liked,she
mentioned me. "iI happen to know him quite well",said my friend. To which the
girl in astonishment:"You mean to say,he's still alive!".
  Expect to get back to Kirchstetten about April 20th.
                     much love and greetings to son and mum-in-law
Wystan.