Selected Letters of Philip Larkin, 1940-1985

Philip Larkin, Author Faber & Faber $0 (791p) ISBN 978-0-571-15197-4
Following in the wake of renewed interest in Larkin (1922-1985), his letters will reward the growing audience for his work. They're caustic and unceremonial, witty, sometimes savaging, always engaged. And they touch on everything from the most literary concerns (Dylan Thomas, in Larkin's view, didn't ``use his words to any advantage'') to personal matters and uninhibited professional complaints. One instance: Larkin remarked in 1946 that his English agent and publisher ``have Daimlers and country cottages now and forevermore,'' while `` I , the author, without whom they would be nothing but a heap of desiccated dogshit, haven't a Daimler nor a country cottage now, and as far as I can see, never will have. Bastards!'' While some writers (and others) have been known, at times, to toe a line of respectability in their correspondence, Larkin's temperament seems to have forbidden that: ``Dull non-day today, following a pissy evening,'' he noted truculently in 1979 to Kingsley Amis. Still, despite the entertaining scourges of his sarcasm, Larkin was also a sympathetic colleague and friend, suggest the letters, and this collection may make readers envy those who could call him that. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Hardcover - 791 pages - 978-0-374-25829-0
Paperback - 791 pages - 978-0-571-17048-7
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