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”[…] In September 1933, Spender met Tony Hyndman (“Jimmy Younger” of World), with whom he lived for the next three years. Their relationship was stormy and ultimately unsatisfying for Spender, who felt an emotional and intellectual imbalance, as suggested by his giving the name “Younger” to his friend, despite his claim that characters in this autobiography have “their real names and attributes.” Suddenly in 1936, he announced their breakup and his plans to marry Inez Pearn, to whom he was engaged for only three weeks.
(Many details of Spender’s relationship with Hyndman, as recounted in the autobiography, were adapted by David Leavitt in his novel While England Sleeps . Charging unlawful use, Spender sued Leavitt and his publisher Viking Press, but in February 1994, the case was resolved out of court. The settlement specified that the “pornographic” material be deleted from subsequent editions of the novel, much to the dismay of Leavitt, who saw latent homophobia in the charges.)
Spender divorced in 1939, and two years later married Natasha Litvin, a concert pianist; two children, Matthew and Lizzie, were born in 1945 and 1951. Some critics have concluded that he repudiated his homosexuality when he rejected Tony Hyndman in 1936 and opted for a life as husband and father; others, however, see him as a complex man who resists easy labeling.
Two of Spender’s poems selected for inclusion in the Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse—“How strangely this sun reminds me of my love!” and “To T.A.R.H. [Tony Hyndman]”—were both printed in Collected Poems 1925-1953, but removed from the latest and final edition of Collected Poems 1925-1985.
a proposito di Tratti da una diaspora, di Federico Boccaccini. Recensione de Il Diario di Sintra. Dicembre 1935 - Agosto 1936. A cura di Matthew Spender