“And the angel will not come”: W. H. Auden and the Paradox of Poetic Language".

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The aim of this article is to analyze the notions of poetry and poetic language proposed by W. H. Auden (1907-1973) from his perspective of crisis of modern culture, in a selection of essays and poems, with special emphasis on “Autumn Song” (1936). In this work, the angel who does not arrive to the Earth, the paralysis of living creatures and the dominant silence show the limitations of human language when trying to account for reality and personal experiences. Although the figure of the celestial spirit, the autumn season in which the
poem is framed and the images of disenchantment are key to its interpretation, it is essential to consider the religious and philosophical ideas that Auden developed during his career, which allow us to better understand his poetics. Paradoxically, at the same time that the Anglo-American poet acknowledges the limitation of words, he finds in poetic language a possible way to know and explore what it means to be human with all the mystery of it.
Original languageAmerican English
Article number9
Pages (from-to)186-209.
Number of pages24
JournalNueva Revista del Pacifico
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Dec 2020


  • W. H. Auden, poetic language, silence, disenchantment, knowledge.


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