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Selected Letters of Philip Larkin: 1940-1985 Paperback – December 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 791 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (December 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057117048X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571170487
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,423,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following in the wake of renewed interest in Larkin (1922-1985), his letters will reward the growing audience for his work. They're caustic and unceremonial, witty, sometimes savaging, always engaged. And they touch on everything from the most literary concerns (Dylan Thomas, in Larkin's view, didn't "use his words to any advantage") to personal matters and uninhibited professional complaints. One instance: Larkin remarked in 1946 that his English agent and publisher "have Daimlers and country cottages now and forevermore," while " I , the author, without whom they would be nothing but a heap of desiccated dogshit, haven't a Daimler nor a country cottage now, and as far as I can see, never will have. Bastards!" While some writers (and others) have been known, at times, to toe a line of respectability in their correspondence, Larkin's temperament seems to have forbidden that: "Dull non-day today, following a pissy evening," he noted truculently in 1979 to Kingsley Amis. Still, despite the entertaining scourges of his sarcasm, Larkin was also a sympathetic colleague and friend, suggest the letters, and this collection may make readers envy those who could call him that. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Readers of Andrew Motion's recent biography (p. 646) of Larkin (d. 1985), who's now recognized as one of the great poets of our century, won't be surprised by the revelations in this generous selection of letters. Larkin's misguided sympathy for Germany in the early years of WW II, his cranky xenophobia, his outrageous misogyny, and his devastating put-downs of other poets (especially Stephen Spender, Ted Hughes, and Vikram Seth) should also come as no surprise. After all, his problems with women, his severe melancholia, and his deep- rooted misanthropy are everywhere evident in the poetry. Not to be overlooked in all the disagreeable material, though, are the elements often missing in Motion's somewhat humorless tome. In his own words, Larkin is a constant pleasure--witty, slangy, and full of profound insight into the writers who matter most to him, from his early admiration of Auden, Lawrence, and Yeats to his later veneration of fellow plain-speaking poets such as Hardy, Edward Thomas, and Gavin Ewart. Heavily represented among the recipients of these 700-odd letters are Larkin's grade-school buddies, publishers, and a few solid literary friends. With his pals, Larkin indulged his love of vulgarity: A proud masturbator, he trades soft-core porn tips with his kindred spirit, Kingsley Amis, and with poet-historian Robert Conquest. Larkin's lifelong devotion to jazz surfaces not only in his numerous discussions of favorite albums but also in the rhythms of his prose. Most touching of all, though, is the poet's long epistolary friendship with Barbara Pym, a lovely testament to their spiritual affinity--they didn't meet until very late in their correspondence. Editor Thwaite (one of Larkin's three executors) never adequately explains the most glaring omission here--the poet's letters to family members. But to Thwaite's credit, he annotates with a light hand, ensuring that no one interested in Larkin or the course of modern poetry can afford to ignore this spectacular volume. (Illustrations) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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