Gepubliceerd op: vrijdag 8 april 2011

Stephen Spender over Auden, Eliot, Hemingway…

The Paris Review heeft een interview uit 1978 online gezet met Stephen Spender.  Spender heeft zowat alle grote schrijvers van de 20e eeuw persoonlijk gekend en hij vertelt dan ook vrijuit over zijn ontmoetingen met:

W.B. Yeats:

“I remember his telling the story of his trip to Rapallo to show the manuscript of The Tower to Ezra Pound. He stayed at the hotel and then went around and left the manuscript in a packet for Pound, accompanied by a letter saying: I am an old man, this may be the last poetry I’ll ever write, it is very different from my other work?—all that kind of thing—and: What do you think of it? Next day he received a postcard from Ezra Pound with one word on it putrid. Yeats was rather amused by that.”


“Hemingway I knew during the Spanish civil war. He often turned up in Valencia and Madrid and other places where I happened to be. We would go for walks together, and then he’d talk about literature. He was marvelous as long as he didn’t realize that he was talking about literature—I mean he’d say how the opening chapter of Stendhal’s La Chartreuse de parme was the best description of war in literature, when Fabrizio gets lost, doesn’t know where he is at all in the Battle of Waterloo. Then I’d say, “Well, what do you think about Henry IV, do you think Shakespeare writes well about war?” “Oh, I’ve never read Shakespeare,” he’d say, “what are you talking about? You seem to imagine I’m a professor or something. I don’t read literature, I’m not a literary man”—that kind of thing.”

Dylan Thomas

Die hij ontdekte via een poëzierubriekje in een krant.

W. Auden

There was a constant streak of absurdity about him. I stayed the night with him once in Greenwich Village, and when I got up in the morning, I naturally pulled the curtain. Immediately the whole thing—curtains, rods, everything—clattered to the floor. Auden said, “Why on earth did you draw the curtain?” And I said, “Well, because I wanted the daylight.” And he said, “I never draw the curtain, I just always leave it closed.” About two weeks later I returned, and the curtain was still on the floor, exactly where it had fallen.

T.S. Eliot

No one knows to this day what Eliot really thought about Auden’s poetry. Well, of course he admired it, and he published it, but he never really said anything about it. He was rather mysterious about it.

Het interview op The Paris Review.

Over de auteur