“(1947) A long poem by W.H. Auden. It concerns men and women who meet by chance in a New York bar in wartime; all are suffering from the modern malaise and feel guilty, isolated, and rootless. In a common dream, they set out on a quest through a barren wasteland. Hope in Christianity is presented as the solution to their problems. The title has frequently been used as a name to describe the mid-20th century.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.