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Times Literary Supplement[An] excellent and beautifully produced edition. . . . The Sea and the Mirror has ambitions far above those which the modest label of 'A commentary' might suggest, and it attempts to clarify an entire aesthetic, both for the poet himself and (on a more abstract level) for all poetry and art in its relation to reality. Nor was this a question of aesthetics only, for Auden was determined that this work should offer a distinctively Christian philosophy of art, one which could announce, and validate, an entirely new depth and seriousness to his own life and writing.
— Peter McDonald