Philip Larkin


August 15, 2022

Philip Arthur Larkin (Coventry, August 9, 1922-Hull, December 2, 1985), known as Philip Larkin, was a British poet, librarian, novelist and jazz critic. In 1945 he published his first book of poetry, El barco del norte, which was followed by two novels, Jill (1946) and A girl in winter (1947), but he gained notoriety in 1955 with the publication of his second collection of poems, Un Minor Hoax, followed by The Wedding at Pentecost (1964) and High Windows (1974). Between 1961 and 1971, he worked for The Daily Telegraph newspaper as its jazz critic (his articles were later compiled in All What Jazz: Writings on Jazz 1961–71, 1985), and edited The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse. (1973).[1] He received several honours, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.[2] In 1984, after the death of John Betjeman, he was offered the position of UK Poet Laureate, which he turned down. .[3] He is considered by critics as one of the most acclaimed English poets of the second half of the 20th century. After graduating from Oxford in 1943 with degrees in English and English literature, Larkin began work as a librarian. During the thirty years that he served as University Librarian at the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull he produced the bulk of his published work. His poems are marked by what the English poet Andrew Motion describes as a "melancholic and very English exactness in dealing with emotions, places and relationships". Eric Homberger referred to Larkin as "the saddest heart in the post-war market", and Larkin himself said that poverty was to him what daffodils were to Wordsworth.[4] Influenced by W. H. Auden, W. B. Yeats and Thomas Hardy, his poems are made up of highly structured, yet flexible lines. Jean Hartley, the ex-wife of Larkin's publisher George Hartley (The Marvell Press), described them as "an exhilarating mix of lyricism and disaffection",[5] although anthologist Keith Tuma asserted that there is more to Larkin's work than suggesting his reputation as a dour pessimist.[6] Larkin's public persona was that of a reckless, reclusive Englishman who disliked fame and had no patience for the entanglements of public literary life.[7] In 1992, when the poet and writer Anthony Thwaite published De His letters posthumously sparked a controversy over his personal life and political views, described by John Banville as chilling, but also somewhat amusing.[7] British historian Lisa Jardine described him as an "inveterate racist and misogynist ", but scholar John Osborne argued in 2008 that "the worst they could find out about Larkin was a few supine letters and that he liked softer porn than the kind that entertains the masses."[8] Despite the controversy , was chosen in a 2003 poll (nearly two decades after his death) organized by the Poetry Book Society as the most acclaimed poet of the last fifty years, and in 2008 The Times named him the best post-war poet of Great Britain.[9] In 2010, twenty-five years after his death, the city where Larkin lived, Kingston upon Hull, commemorated him with the Larkin 25 Festival.[10] The festival culminated on December 2, the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death, with the unveiling of a statue erected in his honor and sculpted by Martin Jennings.[11][12][13]

Early years and education

Philip Larkin was born on 9 August 1922 in Coventry, the only son and youngest child of Lichfield native Sydney Larkin (1884–1948) and his wife, Eva Emily Day (1886–1977) of Epping. The family lived in Radford, Coventry until Philip was five years old, [14] when he moved into a large house.