Imagine that human beings had been designed by a very talented but rather malicious half wit. Here we are, then, so made, rather nimble, quick fingered, quite bright, mortal and aware of it, with feelings we identify as of sorrow and compassion, whatever they are, built to kill and to manipulate, modify, smash up or down our environment to the end that we survive, not individually, but as a species. It is like living with a set of perversely contradictory instructions. Sometimes that is how it seems, a kind of glory, a jest and a riddle that but slenderly knows itself, etc.
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'Auden ... was a monstrously sloppy and unhygienic housekeeper, who was once astounded to hear that not every adult male pees in the kitchen sink.'
In April's cover article, Kevin Jackson roots around the houses of writers and artists.