Malcolm Cowley, Review, 'new Republic', April 1941
The various sections of 'The Double Man' are not equally good. Sometimes Auden so involves himself in ethical distinctions that he seems to be pulling hairs from imaginary heads in order to split them into four equal parts. Other passages are full of a fanciful but fundamentally serious eloquence - as, for example, his picture of how living poets are judged by a tribunal of the dead and his fine tribute to Karl Marx as one of the 'great sedentary Caesars.' Meanwhile the poem as a whole keeps its unified framework and an uninterrupted movement.