понедельник, 27 апреля 2015 г.

From "Auden and Christianity" by ARTHUR KIRSCH


In a review written in 1941, W. H. Auden chided the “prudery” of “cultured people, to whom . . . theological terms were far more shocking than any of the four-letter words,” “whose childish memories associate religion with vague and pious verbiage.” Such “prudery” has only intensified in recent decades, especially among academics and intellectuals who assume that one cannot be a religious and a thinking person at the same time. Auden stands as an eloquent example of the joining of the two, a modern instance of a person in whom thought and faith not only coexisted, but nourished each other. His faith expanded the horizons of his mind as well as his heart, and his formidable intelligence, in turn, probed the nature and limits of his Christian belief, animating his continuous quest not only to believe still but also to believe again.
Auden praised Saint Augustine for showing that “the Christian faith can make sense of man’s private and social experience,” and he explained his own faith in those terms. He wrote that as distinct from the presuppositions of “a faith which applies to some specialized activity,” scientific research,
for example, “there is the Faith by which a man lives his life as a man, i.e. the presuppositions he holds in order that
1. he may make sense of his past and present experience;
2. he may be able to act toward the future with a sense that his actions will be meaningful and effective;
3. that he and his world may be able to be changed from what they are into something more satisfactory.

Владимир Соловьёв "Чтения о богочеловечестве"(Чтение первое).
".......Религия, говоря вообще и отвлеченно, есть связь человека и мира с безусловным началом и средоточием всего существующего. Очевидно, что если признавать действительность такого безусловного начала, то им должны определяться все интересы, все содержание человеческой жизни и сознания, от него должно зависеть и к нему относиться все существенное в том, что человек делает, познает и производит. Если допускать безусловное средоточие, то все точки жизненного круга должны соединяться с ним равными лучами. Только тогда является единство, цельность и согласие в жизни и сознании человека, только тогда все его дела и страдания в большой и малой жизни превращаются из бесцельных и бессмысленных явлений в разумные, внутренно необходимые события. Совершенно несомненно, что такое всеобъемлющее, центральное значение должно принадлежать религиозному началу, если вообще признавать его, и столь же несомненно, что в действительности для современного цивилизованного человечества, даже для тех в среде его, кто признает религиозное начало, религия не имеет этого всеобъемлющего и центрального значения. Вместо того чтобы быть всем во всем, она прячется в очень маленький и очень далекий уголок нашего внутреннего мира, является одним из множества различных интересов, разделяющих наше внимание..........."

Such a faith can only be held dogmatically, for in man’s historical and mortal existence, no experiment is ever identically repeatable.” These presuppositions informed Auden’s work as well as his life. In a talk at Columbia University in 1940, he remarked, “Art is not metaphysics . . . and the artist is usually unwise to insist too directly in his art upon his beliefs; but without an adequate and conscious metaphysics in the background, art’s imitation of life becomes, either a photostatic copy of the accidental details of life without pattern or significance, or a personal allegory of the artist’s individual dementia, of interest primarily to the psychologist and the historian.” For Auden this integrating metaphysics was the Anglo-Catholic faith.
Auden’s decision to write poetry was from the first associated with his faith. When he was fifteen years old, his friend Robert Medley attacked the Church while the two were walking together on a field near their school. Auden startled Medley by declaring that he was a believer. “An argument followed,” Medley recalled, “and to soften what I feared might become a serious breach, after a pause, I asked him if he wrote poetry, confessing by way of exchange, that I did. I was a little surprised that he had not tried and suggested he might do so.” Years later, Auden recollected the episode in “Letter to Lord Byron”:
Kicking a little stone, he turned to me
And said, “Tell me, do you write poetry?”
I never had, and said so, but I knew
That very moment what I wished to do.

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