Letters from Iceland

AUDEN, W.H., and Louis MACNEICE. Letters from Iceland.

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AUDEN, W.H., and Louis MACNEICE. Letters from Iceland. London: Faber and Faber, 1937.

8vo; original green cloth in original illustrated dust-wrapper (not price-clipped); upper edge stained dark blue; numerous illustrations from photographs taken by Auden, diagrams and one folding map at rear; pp. 268, [iv]; upper and lower boards with some brown staining, map to rear misfolded, otherwise internally very clean with some light spotting to edges; a very good copy in jacket which has some creasing to head and foot of spine and edges; a touch toned, also very good.
First edition, signed by Auden in his typical minuscule hand to flyleaf. A highly entertaining account, written in the form of letters and poems, of the poets Auden and MacNeice's visit to Iceland in the summer of 1936. The appendix contains statistical information with good diagrams.
In the summer of 1936, Auden and MacNeice visited Iceland on commission to write a travel book, but found themselves capturing concerns on a scale that were far more international. "Though writing in a 'holiday' spirit,' commented Auden, 'its authors were all the time conscious of a threatening horizon to their picnic - world-wide unemployment, Hitler growing everyday more powerful and a world-war more inevitable." The result is a collaboration of poetry and prose, reportage and correspondence, published in 1937 with the Spanish Civil War newly in progress, beneath the shadow of looming world war. A highly amusing and unorthodox travel book, the text is full of private jokes and irreverent comments about people, politics, literature and ideas of the time.