NOTA BENE BOOKS BLOG

Musings on Place, Travel, Books, Literature, Poetry, Literary Criticism, Collecting, Media, Life and the Arts

What W. H. Auden thought of Iceland

W.H. Auden in response to this question from Christopher Isherwood:

What feelings did your visit give you about life on small islands?

“If you have no particular intellectual interests or ambitions and are content with the company of your family and friends, the life on Iceland must be very pleasant, because the inhabitants are friendly, tolerant and sane. They are genuinely proud of their country and its history, but without the least trace of hysterical nationalism. I always found that they welcomed criticism. But I had the feeling, also, that for myself it was already too late. We are too deeply involved with Europe to be able, or even to wish to escape. Though I am sure you would enjoy a visit as much as I did, I think that, in the long run, the Scandinavian sanity would be too much for you, as it is for me. The truth is, we are both only really happy living among lunatics.”

from Letters from Iceland (Faber, 1937)

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply