Philip Larkin met Monica Jones at University College Leicester in autumn 1946, when they were both twenty-four; he was the newly-appointed assistant librarian and she was an English lecturer. In 1950 Larkin moved to Belfast, and thence to Hull, while Monica remained in Leicester, becoming by turns his correspondent, lover and closest confidante, in a relationship which lasted over forty years until the poet's death in 1985. This remarkable unpublished correspondence only came to light after Monica Jones's death in 2001, and consists of nearly two thousand letters, postcards and telegrams, which chronicle - day by day, sometimes hour by hour - every aspect of Larkin's life and the convolutions of their relationship.
Philip Larkin met Monica Jones at University College Leicester in autumn 1946, when they were both 24; he was the newly-appointed assistant librarian and she was an English lecturer. This title consists of nearly 2000 letters, postcards and telegrams, which chronicle various aspects of Larkin's life and the convolutions of their relationship.
Focusing on the significance of place, connection and relationship in three poets who are seldom considered in conjunction, Rory Waterman argues that Philip Larkin, R.S. Thomas and Charles Causley epitomize many of the emotional and societal shifts and mores of their age. Waterman looks at the foundations underpinning their poetry; the attempts of all three to forge a sense of belonging with or separateness from their readers; the poets’ varying responses to their geographical and cultural origins; the belonging and estrangement that inheres in relationships, including marriage; the forced estrangements of war; the antagonism between social belonging and a need for isolation; and, finally, the charged issues of faith and mortality in an increasingly secularized country.
This book explores Larkin’s engagement with popular culture both as a threat to poetic authority and as a necessary form of cultural capital. It reveals the processes by which the social, contemporary, and politically charged practices of everyday life become the property of the cultured individual.
A revelatory, intimate, and sympathetic study of Philip Larkin, an iconic poet and a much misunderstood man, offering fresh understanding of the interplay of his life and work. Philip Larkin (1922-1985) is one of the most beloved poets in English. Yet after his death a largely negative image of the man himself took hold; he has been portrayed as a racist, a misogynist and a narcissist. Now Larkin scholar James Booth, for seventeen years a colleague of the poet's at the University of Hull, offers a very different portrait. Drawn from years of research and a wide variety of Larkin's friends and correspondents, this is the most comprehensive portrait of the poet yet published. Booth traces the events that shaped Larkin in his formative years, from his early life when his his political instincts were neutralised by exposure to his father's controversial Nazi values. He studies how the academic environment and the competition he felt with colleagues such as Kingsley Amis informed not only Larkin's poetry, but also his little-known ambitions as a novelist. Through the places and people Larkin encountered over the course of his life, including Monica Jones, with whom he had a tumultuous but enduring relationship, Booth pieces together an image of a rather reserved and gentle man, whose personality-and poetry--have been misinterpreted by decades of academic study. Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love reveals the man behind the words as he has never been seen before.
The late 1950s and early 1960s was a period in its own right-neither the stultifying early to midfifties nor the liberating mid- to late-sixties-and an action-packed, dramatic time in which the contours of modern Britain started to take shape. These were the “never had it so good” years, in which mass affluence began to change, fundamentally, the tastes and even the character of the working class; when films like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and TV soaps like Coronation Street and Z Cars at last brought that class to the center of the national frame; when Britain gave up its empire; when economic decline relative to France and Germany became the staple of political discourse; when “youth” emerged as a fully fledged cultural force; when the Notting Hill riots made race and immigration an inescapable reality; when a new breed of meritocrats came through; and when the Lady Chatterley trial, followed by the Profumo scandal, at last signaled the end of Victorian morality. David Kynaston argues that a deep and irresistible modernity zeitgeist was at work, in these and many other ways, and he reveals as never before how that spirit of the age unfolded, with consequences that still affect us today.
An authoritative review of literary biography covering the seventeenth century to the twentieth century A Companion to Literary Biography offers a comprehensive account of literary biography spanning the history of the genre across three centuries. The editor – an esteemed literary biographer and noted expert in the field – has encouraged contributors to explore the theoretical and methodological questions raised by the writing of biographies of writers. The text examines how biographers have dealt with the lives of classic authors from Chaucer to contemporary figures such as Kingsley Amis. The Companion brings a new perspective on how literary biography enables the reader to deal with the relationship between the writer and their work. Literary biography is the most popular form of writing about writing, yet it has been largely neglected in the academic community. This volume bridges the gap between literary biography as a popular genre and its relevance for the academic study of literature. This important work: Allows the author of a biography to be treated as part of the process of interpretation and investigates biographical reading as an important aspect of criticism Examines the birth of literary biography at the close of the seventeenth century and considers its expansion through the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries Addresses the status and writing of literary biography from numerous perspectives and with regard to various sources, methodologies and theories Reviews the ways in which literary biography has played a role in our perception of writers in the mainstream of the English canon from Chaucer to the present day Written for students at the undergraduate level, through postgraduate and doctoral levels, as well as academics, A Companion to Literary Biography illustrates and accounts for the importance of the literary biography as a vital element of criticism and as an index to our perception of literary history.
Letters Home gives access to the last major archive of Larkin's writing to remain unpublished: the letters to members of his family. These correspondences help tell the story of how Larkin came to be the writer and the man he was: to his father Sydney, a 'conservative anarchist' and admirer of Hitler, who died relatively early in Larkin's life; to his timid depressive mother Eva, who by contrast, lived long, and whose final years were shadowed by dementia; and to his sister Kitty, the sparse surviving fragment of whose correspondence with her brother gives an enigmatic glimpse of a complex and intimate relationship- But it was the years during which he and his sister looked after their mother in particular that shaped the writer we know so well: a number of poems written over this time are for her, and the mood of pain, shadow and despondency that characterises his later verse draws its strength from his experience of the long, lonely years of her senility. One surprising element in the volume, however, is the joie de vivre shown in the large number of witty and engaging drawings of himself and Eva, as 'Young Creature' and 'Old Creature', with which he enlivens his letters throughout the three decades of her widowhood. This important edition, meticulously edited by Larkin's biographer, James Booth, is a key piece of scholarship that completes the portrait of this most cherished of English poets.
The book offers a detailed commentary on the poetry of Philip Larkin, exploring the political and cultural contexts which have shaped his contemporary reputation. Part 1, Life and Times, traces Larkin’s early years and follows his development, within his career as a university librarian, into one of the most important and popular voices in twentieth-century poetry. Part 2, Artistic Strategies, explores a range of methodologies and aesthetic influences by which Larkin was able to create poetry at once both accessible and profound. Part 3, Reading Larkin, provides detailed critical commentary on many of the poems from his three major collections, The Less Deceived, The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows. Part 4, Reception, outlines the history of Larkin’s reputation from the mid-1950s to the present, examining the debates and ideological confrontations to which his poetry has given rise.
When Anthony Thwaite's edition of Philip Larkin's Letters was published in 1992 and Motion's biography came out a year later. Larkin's enemies seized on the new disclosures with a frenzy hardly witnessed since the McCarthy era. What had hitherto been regarded only as potential inclinations hinted at in his poems - misogyny and xenophobia in particular - were no indisputable facts, and since then Larkin's reputation as a poet has been tarnished by his image as a human being. Richard Bradford's new biography reveals that Larkin treated his prejudices and peculiarities with detached circumspection. Sometimes he shared them, self-mockingly, self-destructively, with his closest friends: he divided up his life so that some people knew him well but none completely. It was only in the poems that the parts began to resemble the whole. The trajectory of his poetic writing was influenced principally by his friendship with Kingsley Amis. Without Larkin, Amis's immensely successful first novel, Lucky Jim, would not have been written. Its success caused Larkin to finally abandon his own ambitions as a novelist, to concentrate exclusively on his poetry and his poetry would thereafter become his autobiography, Larkin's poetry is in its own right magnificent, and readers of Bradford's biography will be able to extend their appreciation of his art to an acquaintance with the artist at work.