what is your Eden like?

W. H. Auden used to say that he could only evaluate someone’s thinking — and especially their critical judgments — if he knew what their imaginary Eden looked like. He suggested that everyone fill out the survey below, and indeed filled it out himself. He wrote, for example, that his ideal religion was “Roman Catholic in an easygoing Mediterranean sort of way. Lots of local saints.” He believed that public statues should be “Confined to famous defunct chefs,” and insisted that the only sources of public information should be technical journals and gossip. For self-examination:

• landscape:

• climate:

• ethnic origin of inhabitants:

• language:

• weights & measures:

• religion:

• size of capital:

• form of government:

• sources of natural power:

• economic activities:

• means of transport:

• architecture:

• domestic furniture and equipment:

• formal dress:

• sources of public information:

• public statues:

• public entertainments: