From W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice’s Letters from Iceland, this from Auden’s A letter to Christopher Isherwood, Esq. (The honorary, even if accurate, feels very much a part of the joke.)
10. ‘What feelings did you visit give you about life on small island?’
If you have no particular intellectual interests or ambitions and are content with the company of your family and friends, then life on Iceland must be very pleasant, because the inhabitants are friendly, tolerant, and sane. They are genuinely proud of their country and its history, but without the least trace of hysterical nationalism. I always found that they welcomed criticism. But I had the feeling, also, that for myself it was already too late. We are all too deeply involved with Europe to be able, or even to wish to escape. Though I am sure you would enjoy a visit as much as I did, I think that, in the long run, the Scandinavian sanity would be too much for you, as it is for me. The truth is, we are both only really happy living among lunatics.
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What was it Bjork sang – ‘I tried to order freedom/ how Scandinavian of me’?
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