Louis MacNeice

1907 (Belfast) – 1963 (London)

Auden (particularly close, an inspiration and later collaborator), Spender and Day Lewis were friends from university, though the four were never the tight-knit group of popular imagination. Betjeman and MacNeice (and Anthony Blunt) had co-edited a school magazine. Eliot published him, Priestley sold a house to him, and Britten composed music for him. Thomas was a BBC colleague and drinking-partner. He befriended Berryman (who wrote an elegy after his death) on a transatlantic liner, and Leigh Fermor in Athens, and bravely asked Yeats if he’d ever seen the mysterious spirits his wife claimed to get messages from.