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Letters from Iceland

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Letters from Iceland is a travel book in prose and verse by W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice, published in 1937. The book is made up of a series of letters and travel notes by Auden and MacNeice written during their trip to Iceland in 1936 compiling light-hearted private jokes and irreverent comments about their surrounding world. Auden's contributions include the poem "Journey to Iceland"; a prose section "For Tourists"; a five-part verse "Letter to Lord Byron"; a selection of writings on Iceland by other authors, "Sheaves from Sagaland"; a prose letter to "E. M. Auden" (E.M. was Erika Mann), which included his poems "Detective Story" and "O who can ever praise enough"; a prose letter to Kristian Andreirsson, Esq.; a free-verse letter to William Coldstream, and, in collaboration with MacNeice, "W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice: Their Last Will and Testament" (in verse). MacNeice's contributions include a verse letter to Graham and Anne Shepard; the satiric prose "Hetty to Nancy" (unsigned); a verse Epilogue; and MacNeice's contributions to "W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice: Their Last Will and Testament". Auden revised his sections of the book for a new edition published in 1966. The book is mentioned multiple times throughout the 2007 Oscar-nominated film, Away from Her, in which several passages are read aloud during the film. Letters from Iceland is categorised under the "Inter-war pastorals" style of writing, where poets are attached to an imaginary countryside from where they contemplate people, literature and politics. The book is considered as a thirties classics.
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language: English
date of publication: 1937
genre: travel literature

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