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); numerous illustrations from photographs taken by Auden, diagrams and one folding map at rear; pp. 268, [iv]; some light staining to boards and slight darkening to spine; dustwrapper minimally chipped to extremities and yellowed to inside flaps; edges a little spotted; else a very good copy.
First edition, signed by Auden in his typical miniscule 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.