Those Volumes as His Seat

Joseph Brodsky on W. H. Auden: “I saw him last in July 1973, at a supper at Stephen Spender’s place in London. Wystan was sitting there at the table, a cigarette in his right hand, a goblet in his left, holding forth on the subject of cold salmon. The chair being too low, two disheveled volumes of the OED were put under him by the mistress of the house. I thought then that I was seeing the only man who had the right to use those volumes as his seat.” (Brodsky, 1983, To Please a Shadow, in More Than One)