Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 27 Aug 2015
Philip Larkin was that rare thing among poets: a household name in his own lifetime. Lines such as 'Never such innocence again' and 'Sexual intercourse began / In nineteen sixty-three' made him one of the most popular poets of the last century. Larkin's reputation as a man, however, has been more controversial. A solitary librarian known for his pessimism, he disliked exposure and had no patience with the literary circus. And when, in 1992, the publication of his Selected Letters laid bare his compartmentalised personal life, accusations of duplicity, faithlessness, racism and misogyny were levelled against him. There is, of course, no requirement that poets should be likeable or virtuous, but James Booth asks whether art and life were really so deeply at odds with each other. Can the poet who composed the moving 'Love Songs in Age' have been such a cold-hearted man? Can he who uttered the playful, self-deprecating words 'Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth' really have been so boorish? A very different public image is offered by those who shared the poet's life: the women with whom he was romantically involved, his friends and his university colleagues. It is with their personal testimony, including access to previously unseen letters, that Booth reinstates a man misunderstood: not a gaunt, emotional failure, but a witty, provocative and entertaining presence, delightful company; an attentive son and a man devoted to the women he loved. Meticulously researched, unwaveringly frank and full of fresh material, Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love definitively reinterprets one of our greatest poets.
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ISBN-13: 9781408851692
ISBN-10: 1408851695
Pagini: 560
Ilustrații: 2 x 8 page B&W plates, 1 x 8 page colour plate
Dimensiuni: 129 x 198 x 45 mm
Greutate: 0.46 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


A must for any fan of Larkin - or poetry in general - and Andrew Motion's Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life, and both First Boredom, Then Fear and The Odd Couple: The Curious Friendship Between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin by Richard Bradford

Notă biografică

James Booth edited Philip Larkin's early girls'-school stories and poems as Trouble at Willow Gables and Other Fictions and has published two critical studies of the poet's work: Philip Larkin: Writer (1991) and Philip Larkin: The Poet's Plight (2005). He is Literary Adviser to the Philip Larkin Society and Co-Editor of its journal, About Larkin. He recently retired from the Department of English at the University of Hull, where he had been a colleague of Larkin for seventeen years.


James Booth has written a literary biography which is both elegant and moving, conveying the shape of a life - and a love-life - as sensitively as he conveys the shape of the poetic oeuvre ... At the core of the book is the poetry, which Booth analyses in a reader-friendly manner, without verbosity but with passion and precision. He provides new perspectives on the early novels and poems, and explores the symbolist dimension which is so essential for an understanding of Larkin - and there's a particularly fine-tuned discussion of the poet's more controversial views in the chapter on Jazz, Race and Modernism ... This is the first biography which, one feels, Larkin might have admitted to reading - and, even more unwillingly, enjoying
Illuminating . Booth provides new material drawn from interviews with the various women involved, all of whom are cited in support of the view that Larkin the man has been maligned . For Larkin fans James Booth's book should be a satisfactory detailed understanding of familiar story told with wholehearted admiration and scholarly command
For all the shakiness of his efforts to explain away Larkin's private transgressions, his book is much more enjoyable than Motion's ****
Nobody could tease out more meanings from a Larkin line than he . Booth usefully highlights Larkin's graveyard humour, his passion for jazz, his capacity to surprise people with kindness, and his tireless poetic search to define "something hidden from us"
He provides a detailed picture of Larkin in post, especially in his dealings with mostly female staff
Superb . Booth's psychology is subtler than Motion's and more convincing. His achievement is to paint a satisfying and believably complex picture . Compelling and makes clear how unmistakeably Larkin belongs among the greats
Fine-grained, thoughtful . This biography is full of such wise textual analysis, and for that it should be read
Booth is, quite simply, the ultimate Larkin enthusiast . Booth is absolutely excellent on the work . To read this book through, turning back to the poems in sequence, is to appreciate Larkin's development more intimately than has been possible before
Booth's diligence is unquestionable and even readers who think they know the poems will see nuances they had previously missed . Booth's supplement to Andrew Motion's biography - the light to his shadow - should render further attention by biographers superfluous for several years
Engrossing and, at least some of the way, a persuasive account . Booth also unearths new evidence to establish that Larkin was, to all who dealt with him during his three decades as a librarian, a likeable colleague and a fair boss . he is excellent on the poetry which is . the testimony that really matters
Challenging the myth that Larkin was a miserable misogynist, drawing on testimony from women friends, university contemporaries and previously unseen letters to reveal him as delightful company in person as well as on the page
Highly sympathetic biography of Britain's favourite poet
Booth's achievement isn't just to make us think more fondly of Larkin as a man - it's to send us rushing back to his poems, and to love them anew ****
A warm portrait
His examination of the poems is exemplary, always intelligent and free of jargon, and the manner in which he relates them to Larkin's life will enhance many readers' appreciation of the poetry and deepen their enjoyment . This is a very good biography, both judicious and generous
Booth's attempt to understand Larkin through his interaction with others is inspired
Nails the poetry . Booth is certainly less sententious than Motion; he leans towards understanding rather than judgment, which seems to me to be the bigger part of the biographer's job
Lively and entertaining . As a literary biography, Booth's book is much closer to the work than Motion's was, and draws on a knowledge of first-hand and archive sources unlikely to be matched by any future biographer
Thank you, James Booth . Booth, a long-time colleague, has done an impressive job in his book . If Booth finally succeeds in correcting the view of Larkin and reminding us of the glories of the poetry, he will have done us all a service. And old Philip, too
Booth takes a more human and measured, less judgemental, approach to the contradictions in Larkin's personality than Motion did . Compelling
Those of us who never warmed to Larkin the man or poet, will have our aversions challenged by this sympathetic but different account of his life and work . the sense of personal knowledge is valuable here, a sense that enriches and enlivens this portrait. Perhaps it's because we see Larkin as more emotionally available than before . This biography makes him feel a little more contemporary, a little more recognisable to today's audience