Then and Now: The Natural/Positivist Nexus at War: Auden's ‘September 1, 1939’

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article returns to a little examined moment in the history of jurisprudence. A moment fleetingly considered, it has been ascribed, nevertheless, an iconic status in that history, and it is meet to return to it now, at the war-shadowed dawn of the twenty-first century to consider how the juxtaposition of war with the positivist-Natural Law debate compares with the outbreak of an earlier war. The consideration of poetry alongside philosophy and jurisprudence permits reflection upon the history of ideas permeating many strands of thought and allows tentative conclusions to be drawn concerning implications for 'local' theory - especially 'Anglo-American' debate and the influence of discrete aspects of theory as they impinge one upon the other. The history also holds lessons for the very notion of theory itself - in the need to consider the 'tensile' properties of legal and political theory, any putative interactions between the formerly separate worlds of the analytic and normative, the 'natural' and 'positive' - particularly tested in the contingent event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-86
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


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