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16 October 2014
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'...schooled from the age of ten to a foreign voice...'

Admissions book, Marlborough College
At the age of ten, MacNeice was sent to Marlborough College, Wiltshire. He received a public school education alongside John Betjeman and Anthony Blunt, who was later to become Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures and a Soviet spy. Despite the ‘physical discomfort and futile ritual’ of his education, MacNeice quite enjoyed his schooldays. He was dubbed ‘the Irish genius,’ a title he lived up to by gaining a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford.

OxfordMacNeice was spellbound by what he called ‘the glamour of Oxford.’ He considered college a ‘delectable reprieve’ from the rough and tumble of Marlborough. At Oxford, MacNeice met and formed a lifelong friendship with WH Auden. He was also associated with Spender, and C. Day Lewis held court along with Cecil Day Lewis and Stephen Spender. Louis struck up a life long friendship with Auden, who inspired him to take poetry seriously. He became part of that golden circle of literati known as The Thirties Poets, although unlike the others, he never aligned himself with any political party.

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