Thursday, September 06, 2007

Auden #13

The schoolmasters of literature frown on affectation as silly and probably unhealthy. They are wrong. Only stupid people are without affections and only dishonest ones think of themselves as rational. In literature, as in life, there can be no growth without them, for affectation, passionately adopted and loyally obeyed, is one of the chief forms of self-discipline by which the human sensibility can raise itself by the bootstraps.

Introduction, Poets of the English Language, Vol. II (1953)