De Engelse dichter, essayist en schrijver Stephen Spender werd geboren op 28 februari 1909 in Londen. Zie ook mijn blog van 28 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 28 februari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 28 februari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 28 februari 2010.
Uit: World within world
“It was a sign of this submission of human beings to the mechanical forces they had called into being and put into motion against one another that I was no longer interested in the personality of Hitler, since, having begun the war, he had not the power to make it stop.
Everyone had shrunk in his own mind as well as in the minds of his fellow-beings, because his attention was diverted to events dwarfing individuals. These events could only lead to more battles and a victory catastrophic for the winning, as for the losing side. Personal misfortunes seemed of minor importance compared with the universal nature of the disaster overtaking civilization. So that in the summer of 1940, when invasion seemed imminent, a friend could say to me: “Within six weeks from now, if I blow out my brains and they spatter all over the carpet, in my own home and with my family in the room, no one will think it worth noticing.”
We lived in a trance-like condition in which, from our fixed positions in our island-fortress-prison, we witnessed, as in a dream, not only armies, but whole populations controlled by the magnetic force of power. Even in the minds of those who knew them well, France and other continental countries had become mental concepts only, areas in our minds where incredible things happened; there, puppet dictators transmitted orders received from Germany, and Germany, a vast arsenal of mechanical power, added to its resources the industries of other nations and the slave labour of their peoples. Even today, France under the Occupation remains to me an idea only, to which I can attach little reality, a hallucinated vision of folly, betrayal, and despairing courage. So that, if some French friend begins to speak of his life during those years, I stare at him as though expecting to see him change into a different person.“
Stephen Spender (28 februari 1909 – 16 juli 1995)