“A satisfactory human life, individually or collectively, is possible only if proper respect is paid to all three worlds [Work, Carnival, and Prayer]. Without Prayer and Work, the Carnival laughter turns ugly, the comic obscenities grubby and pornographic, the mock aggression into real hatred and cruelty…. Without Laughter and Work, Prayer turns Gnostic, cranky, Pharisaic, while those who try to live by Work alone, without Laughter or Prayer, turn into insane lovers of power, tyrants who would enslave Nature to their immediate desires — an attempt which can only end in utter catastrophe, shipwreck on the Isle of the Sirens.”

W. H. Auden, “Work, Carnival, and Prayer,” a lecture published for the first time in this new volume