38. Tony Sharpe on Auden’s Holy Places

Talk focused on the poem, In Praise of Limestone, exploring the reasons why such a landscape came to be described by Auden as ‘sacred’.

‘When I try to imagine a faultless love/ Or the life to come, what I hear is the murmur/ Of underground streams, what I see is a limestone landscape’: thus Auden concludes his poem, ‘In Praise of Limestone’.

In this talk Tony Sharpe explores the reasons why such a landscape came to be described by Auden as ‘sacred’, what its characteristics were, and how the consistency of his attachment to an essentially English location offers a continuity often overlooked, in a life and career sometimes seen as having involved Auden’s turning away from England and Englishness.

(NB the introduction was not recorded)