Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life

Andrew Motion, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $35 (570p) ISBN 978-0-374-23168-2
Beneath his quiet, self-effacing persona as ``archetypal librarian,'' English poet Philip Larkin (1922-1985) led a much more dramatic and troubled life than was commonly known. Raised by an arrogant father--a Nazi sympathizer who corresponded with Hitler's economics minister--and by an overprotective mother, Larkin harbored self-disgust and sexual confusion. He had a homosexual crush in college, avidly collected pornography and wrote two facetious would-be lesbian romances under the pseudonym Brunette Coleman. His 30-volume diary was destroyed after his death by his indulgent companion Monica Jones. Drawing on unpublished papers and letters, Motion, Larkin's friend and fellow poet, has produced the first biography of a poet who some rank with Auden and Eliot. This revealing, disquieting portrait limns ``a selfish man'' who played off one lover against another, and a reactionary strongly prejudiced against immigrants, students, unions and socialists. Snippets of poems, interspersed with the narrative, remind us of Larkin's genius. Photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 92 pages - 978-0-416-32270-5
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-0-415-02529-4
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Paperback - 570 pages - 978-0-571-17065-4
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