chapter  102
3 Pages

Giles Romilly, Review, 'new Statesman and Nation', October 1948

America too Auden has taken some of his most beautiful and serious poems and in his collected volume attached to these poems titles which are facetious and silly: 'Shut Your Eyes and Open Your Mouth,' 'Heavy Date,' 'Such Nice People,' 'Please Make Yourself At Home,' 'Do Be Careful,' 'It's So Dull Here,' 'Nobody Understands Me.' These are representative instances of the kind of tourist slanginess which has infected Auden's style as a whole and which is far from being the same thing as the colloquial actuality which gave his work of ten and fifteen years ago so much emotional force. There is nothing in this new book which comes near the prophetic power of such a passage as this, from his first book:

[Quotes last 14 lines of 'It was Easter as I walked in the public gardens...', EA, 40.]


xxxvi, 30 October 1948, 376

An author and journalist, Romilly (1916-67) cut short his undergraduate career at Oxford to fight in the Spanish Civil War, and subsequently worked for the 'Daily Express'. During the Second World War he was arrested by the Germans in Norway while on his way to cover the Russo-Finnish war and spent some years as a prisoner of war, partly in solitary confinement and eventually at Colditz.