The contextualist critic admits that the writer does indeed have, as the didactic critics insist, strong convictions and deep feelings about moral questions. And these convictions and feelings are often at the centre of his creative impulse. But he also sees that, when the writing is at its best, when the writer is caught up in his creation, these personal convictions and feelings are usually shaken. As W.H. Auden has said, the writer's beliefs are "sacrificed to the poem." As a result, when a modern critic examines the poem or the novel, he usually finds ambiguity and irony, ambivalence and paradox. To do otherwise, to insist as some critics still do, that a great work must furnish us with a noble idea, or an unambiguous morality, usually implies that we must sacrifice the poem to our beliefs.
Lawrence H Hyman