Archive | October, 2007

Explaining the Modernist Joke: W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Letters from Iceland

Travel Writing and the Canon Like many odd literary creatures from the British 1930’s, W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice’s Letters from Iceland (1936) is referred to more frequently as a representative period piece than as an achieved work of art. As Tim Youngs notes, in his essay on Auden’s travel writing in the recent Cambridge […]

Posted in Essays, October 2007: Louis MacNeice Special IssueComments (0)

The Louis MacNeice Special Issue

Just as Ben Jonson bore the unfortunate fate of living in what would become known as the “Age of Shakespeare,” Louis MacNeice lives in the long shadow thrown by his exact contemporary, W.H. Auden, who dominated his generation of poets and gave a name to the “Age of Anxiety” (Auden’s book of that title begat a symphony by Leonard Bernstein, secured a Pulitzer Prize for the recently naturalized poet, and was hailed by the New York Public Library as one of the most influential books of the last century). Together they suffered the temporary indignity of being joined as ingredients of “MacSpaunday,” the belittling coinage devised by critic Roy Campbell in his book Flowering Rifle. He amalgamated the names of the four Oxford “thirties poets” who were frequently, and unfairly, thought of as indistinguishable (anti-modernist in poetics, leftist in politics): Louis MacNeice (“Mac”), Stephen Spender (“sp”), W. H. Auden (“au-n”), and Cecil Day-Lewis (“day”).

Posted in Featured, October 2007: Louis MacNeice Special IssueComments (0)

Louis MacNeice: “His Own Unchanging Self”

An Interview with Jon Stallworthy Interview By: Sunil Iyengar Jon Stallworthy’s blood quickened after a poetry reading he gave earlier this year, not because he admired his own recitative powers, but because of something an audience member told him. This man, who turned out to be Stephen Spender’s nephew, had found a sheaf of letters […]

Posted in Featured, Interviews, October 2007: Louis MacNeice Special IssueComments (0)

Re-Collecting MacNeice

Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice edited by Peter McDonald. Faber and Faber, 2007. 836 pages. As Reviewed By: Maria Johnston In a note on Louis MacNeice’s poetry penned in 1964, Louise Bogan observed that, “the Collected Poems 1925-1948 should, although not so arranged, be read in chronological order, for it is an added pleasure to […]

Posted in Featured, October 2007: Louis MacNeice Special Issue, ReviewsComments (0)

The Tawdry Halo of the Idle Martyr: MacNeice’s Autumn Journal

As Reviewed By: Katy Evans-Bush In 1963, after Louis MacNeice’s premature death of pneumonia, Philip Larkin wrote that “his poetry was the poetry of our everyday life, of shop-windows, traffic policemen, ice-cream soda, lawn-mowers, and an uneasy awareness of what the news-boys were shouting . . . he displayed a sophisticated sentimentality about falling leaves […]

Posted in Featured, October 2007: Louis MacNeice Special Issue, ReviewsComments (0)

CPR Classic Readings: “The Sunlight on the Garden” by Louis MacNeice

As Reviewed By: John Drexel “The Sunlight on the Garden” by Louis MacNeice The sunlight on the garden Hardens and grows cold, We cannot cage the minute Within its nets of gold; When all is told We cannot beg for pardon. Our freedom as free lances Advances towards its end; The earth compels, upon it […]

Posted in Classic Reading, Featured, October 2007: Louis MacNeice Special IssueComments (1)