"Dreaming of Elsewhere": Landscape in W.H. Auden
de Smalen, Eveline
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This thesis discusses the ways in which landscape and borders, both geographical and cultural, influence the works of the British-American author W.H. Auden (1907-1973). In his works, both phenomena are constantly contested and renegotiated. We see that borders exist by grace of exclusion, but the crossing of borders can be an enlightening experience. At the same time, a sense of exclusion is necessary to facilitate a feeling of being at home; still, to have a place to come home to requires a place to come home from. The sense of place, too, is very much contested in Auden's writing. In the hands of people, or at least of Auden, landscape becomes much more than landscape alone, but is enriched with cultural references of all kinds, so landscapes are not only defined by their physical characteristics, but just as much by the cultural connotations we attach to them so that they come to reflect society and all its aspects, and symbolise the state of humanity.