On the Feast of Stephen
- BuyNew Selected Journals, 1939-95 by Stephen Spender, edited by Lara Feigel and John Sutherland
Faber, 792 pp, £45.00, July 2012, ISBN 978 0 571 23757 9
Stephen Spender was a visitor to the city of Hamburg both before the war and after, when he played a part in the work of occupation and recovery. He was well on his way to being the noted ex-communist poet, whose lyricism of the left spoke up in praise of pylons and the landing aeroplane, gliding over the suburbs, ‘more beautiful and soft than any moth’. It was in shattered Hamburg that I reviewed, in the uniform of a soldier and in a studio of the British Forces Network, his autobiography of 1951, World within World. The British Army of the Rhine was told of my enthusiasm for it. I practically stood to attention at the microphone.