Larkin, Philip. (1922 - 1985).
W o r k
F i c t i o n :
< influenced by Thomas Hardy: preoccupied with loneliness, age, and death
- set in an Oxford forced into egalitarianism by the war
- anticipated the campus novel of ‘The Angry Young Men’
P o e t r y :
- the dominant figure of ‘The Movement’
- analyses the welfare-state world of post-imperial Britain
- takes an empirical, sceptical, and stoic attitude
- views human history and human experience as no occasion for rejoicing
- alienates himself from both an uncomfortable past and a cheerless present
The North Ship (1945):
- his first collection, strongly influenced by W. B. Yeats
The Less Deceived (1955):
- influenced by Thomas Hardy who seems to be echoed even in the title
> “Church Going”:
- a ‘bored, uninformed’ narrator with an ‘awkward reverence’ in a church
- a meditation on a future with religion shrunk to a fear of death
The Whitsun Weddings (1964):
- a sharp ear for the inflexions of his own age
- a deliberately provocative frankness
- the title poem portrays his contemporary England of false cheer, cheap fashions, and joyless wedding parties
> “An Arundel Tomb”:
- perhaps his most delicate and lyrical poem
- fuses history, time, uneasiness about death, and human hope into new wholes
- a medieval funerary monument to a husband and wife shows them lying side by side and hand in hand x time both marred the sculptural image and altered the way to read and interpret all the images
High Windows (1974):
- manifests his admiration for D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover
- enjoys his private penchant for ‘four-letter words’
- the title poem is marked by the colloquial (= offensive) language stressing its contemporaneity
(Photo: Channel 4).
AuthorPhilip Arthur Larkin. (1922 - 1985). British.
WorkPoet. Novelist. The leading figure of The Movement.
GenresModern poetry and fiction.
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Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"They fuck you up, your mum and dad. / They may not mean to, but they do. / They fill you with the faults they had / And add some extra, just for you.
From "This Be The Verse" (1971).