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Letters from Iceland: 12/27/07
I am rather split brained about Letters From Iceland by W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice. There were pieces of it that had me roaring with laughter and other pieces where I just had to skip out of boredom or disinterest.
Letters From Iceland is a collection of writings inspire by a trip to Iceland. It was published in 1937 and has been reprinted a number of times. W. H. Auden provided about two-thirds of the pieces including a lengthy (and rather dull) epic poem called a "Letter to Lord Byron." Louis MacNeice provided the remaining third of the text.
My favorite parts of the book were the notes for tourists which includes practical advice on what to pack an who to dress, warnings about the food an transportation. The descriptions of the Icelandic traditions taken from a British point of view made for a humorous comparison with the dwarves in Pratchett's discworld novels; I was constantly reminded of Carrot.
My all time favorite piece of the book was a satiric letter "Hetty to Nancy" by MacNeice. It is an account of a disastrous group camping trip. Hetty recounts the problems of sleeping facing down hill, with sleeping on rocks and with tents in the rain when the tents haven't been properly pitched.