lotsa pinblog pinging about Auden today, here &.
I like much about Auden's poetry & criticism. Brilliant in the extreme, engaged. I'm bored sometimes by the Average Man approach. Auden had science/engineering background, & it shows, in that reflexive lot measurement. The rhetoric of the 18th-cent. Restoration : always calculating toward the statistical mean. It gets depressing, like row houses, PBS series, (some of) Larkin... Probably has (ironically) a class basis : in order to address the Common Man, the genteel Oxbridgian scholar feels compelled to apply the dumbed-down statistical patter of the poll-taker, the survey man...
sociological, analytical... doesn't grip down to the coils of individual experience, but puts same in context of the Average. definitely disenchanting, in ways good & bad.
some might want to let the sociologists & novelists carry that load.