Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin, 1922–85, English poet. He graduated from St. John's College, Oxford (B.A., 1943; M.A., 1947) and was for many years librarian at the Univ. of Hull. With an eye for the ordinary and a diction that is profoundly lucid and determinedly plain, Larkin wrote poetry of diminution that quietly exposes the weakness and pretensions of English life. His wit was subtle, delicate, and deadly. Among his volumes of poetry are The North Ship (1946), The Less Deceived (1955), The Whitsun Weddings (1964), and High Windows (1974). Larkin also edited The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse (1973). In addition, he published two novels, Jill (1940) and A Girl in Winter (1947); and two collections of critical pieces, All What Jazz: A Record Diary, 1961–1968 (1970) and Required Writing (1983). With the onset of deafness in the 1970s Larkin ceased writing poetry and jazz criticism. Despite a slim body of mature work, Larkin has a secure reputation as one of the finest and most original poets of his era.

See his Collected Poems (rev. ed. 2004, ed. by A. Thwaite), Poems (2011, selected by M. Amis), and Complete Poems (2012, ed. by A. Burnett); A. Thwaite, ed., Selected Letters of Philip Larkin, 1940–1985 (1992) and Letters to Monica (2011); memoir by M. Brennan (2002); biography by A. Motion (1993); studies by L. Kuby (1974), T. Whalen (1986), R. Day (1987), L. Cookson and B. Loughrey, ed. (1989), D. Salwak, ed. (1989), J. Booth (1992), A. Swarbrick (1995), S. Regan, ed. (1997), and J. Booth, ed. (2000).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Larkin's Blues: Jazz and Modernism
Leggett, B. J.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 42, No. 2, Summer 1996
New Poets of England and America
Donald Hall; Robert Pack; Louis Simpson.
Meridian Books, 1957
Librarian’s tip: "Deceptions" and other poems by Philip Larkin begin on p. 164
Sordid Images: The Poetry of Masculine Desire
S. H. Clark.
Routledge, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "'Get out as Early as You Can': Larkin's Sexual Politics"
Society and Literature, 1945-1970
Alan Sinfield.
Holmes & Meier, 1983
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Philip Larkin begins on p. 201
Rule and Energy: Trends in British Poetry since the Second World War
John Press.
Oxford University Press, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Philip Larkin begins on p. 97
The Turf Cutter and the Nine-to-Five Man: Heaney, Larkin, and "The Spiritual Intellect's Great Work." (Poets Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin)
Booth, James.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 43, No. 4, Winter 1997
Modern Poetry: Studies in Practical Criticism
C. B. Cox; A. E. Dyson.
Edward Arnold, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Philip Larkin begins on p. 137
The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English
Ian Hamilton.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Larkin, Philip (1922-85)" begins on p. 288
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