In Solitude, For Company: The City in WH Auden's 'Horae Canonicae'

TJE Duggett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This essay considers the image of the city as an interpretative crux for Auden's later poetry, focussing on his poetry of the fifties. It suggests that a quest 'to build the just city' is a valid characterisation of the trajectory of Auden's career, and argues that the sequence Horae Canonicae adumbrates a Christian vision of that quest, reflective of the poet's reconversion to Christianity. It performs a detailed analysis of Horae Canonicae, exploring the relationship depicted in the sequence between history and Christian notions of sin and redemption, and arguing that this relationship is emblematised in the poems in the image of the City. The essay also explores the interactions between Auden's poetry and the Christian philosophies of Reinhold Niebuhr and Charles Williams - two writers who had major intellectual and personal influences on the poet - and shows how Auden appropriated their ideas to his ongoing civic discourse.
Translated title of the contributionIn Solitude, For Company: The City in WH Auden's 'Horae Canonicae'
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195 - 208
Number of pages14
Volume54 (210)
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


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