2 MARCH 1962, Page 14


SIR,—I should like to congratulate Mr. Desmond Fennell on his brilliant article 'Goodbye to Summer.' I myself have often contemplated writing a full- length parody of the ridiculous pieces about Sweden that have been appearing in the British and Ameri- can press for the past ten years or more but con- sidered that they were beyond parody. i suppose it is that I lacked Mr. Fennell's stamina. He has done it and done it well, and the result is hilarious.

How superbly he has caught that ludicrously ob- jective tone, with what skill he has twisted the facts he uses and ignored others, how well lie has captured the half-baked psychology of other writers on Sweden. Particularly subtle, I feel, is the clever way in which his beautifully satiric theory about the Swedish summer is based on three Ingmar Bergman films (without of course mentioning Bergman),--it was high time that this particular way of looking at Sweden was well and truly sent up.

The only weakness perhaps lies in the passage on Sweden's international relations. Naturally Mr. Fen- nell was trying to suggest that special brand of controlled hysteria which afflicts the kind of article he is parodying, but although he remains outrageously funny his own essay does get a little out of hand here. Still, a man who has spent ten months in Sweden and studied the language can be forgiven; he must have been very angry indeed over the misleading books and articles he had read in Britain before going there.

You too, sir, are to be congratulated on printing the article in the way you did. You rightly have a very high opinion of your sophisticated readers. Frankly I was taken in at first—it was not until I was into the second column that I appreciated Mr. Fennell's true purpose; but then being Swedish I often find myself at the mercy of the English sense of humour.