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Philip Larkin

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Mira Brody

on 12 December 2012

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Transcript of Philip Larkin

1922-1985 Philip Larkin Biography 1922 born in Coventry England.
Died 1985 in at the age of 63.
He attended St. John's College, Oxford & King Henry VIII School.
Writer in postwar Great Britain
Commonly referred to as "England's other Poet Laureate"
Famous for his "average Joe" poetical voice
Part of “The Movement” group. Poetic Style Ordinary, colloquial style reflecting on commonplace events.
Ironic understatement, skeptical.
Inspired and often compared to W.B. Yeats.
Last two lines of his poems often conclude the piece's theme.
Is this effective? Why / why not? Compare/Contrast Homage to a Government Homage is defined as an expression of high regard, or a tribute. Written on January 10, 1969, and published in 1974. The subject of this poem is the decline of the British Empire following WWII. Just like High Windows, has angered some readers by its reactionary sentiments.
Lines 1-6 express how soldiers are coming home because Britain could not afford the war any longer
Lines 7-12- Summary-its hard to say who made the final decision to cede the rest of the colonies or territories, but it was for the best.
Lines 13-18- England will no longer be the most powerful empire, The only legacy that they have to leave their children now is the money that they had to borrow from the United States.
Larkin's early work was said to have been inspired by Yeats, but his later poems differ as his style evolved. He mentioned that Yeats was too "removed from the everyday." Both often used allusive imagery, traditional forms and heavy symbolism. Yeats' "Sailing to the Byzantine" is often compared to Larkin's popular poem "High Windows."
Where are some places that we see Yeats in Larkin's work? Talking in Bed "Talking in Bed" is a representation of the time's belief concerning marriage and a reflection of Larkin's personal take on relationships. In the 1960s Divorce was scandalous; husband and wife would often stay in terrible unloving marriages. Its mood is pessimistic and gloomy. The lovers are physically close yet emotionally strangers.
Symbolism includes: clouds, dark town
Double meaning: "Lying together"
Historical allusion: "goes back so far" being next to someone is instinctual.
The poem itself holds a sort of awkward silence as you read it.
Theme: Relationships are not built on love, but on the absence of hatred (summarized in the last two lines). High Windows "High Windows" was written in 1967, during the height of the "Summer of Love." It's the most famous of Larkin's poems. In it, Larkin expresses envy for the younger generation. The idea of free love and sex without shame is exactly what his generation dreamed of but never thought would come true. The highly conservative religion-based ideas of their parent's generation have been thrown out, the "high windows" mentioned in the poem indicate a bigger world outside meant to be explored. Triple meaning of title:
Literal, like stained glass windows in a church.
Religious metaphor, windows into the soul (everything is out in the open)
Idea of a time of new perspective on society. Larkin mourned the death of modernism, he felt that his generation of poets did not have the same drive and purpose as generations past. Coarse and shocking language paired with mundane situations.
Focus on the working class, but there is no excessive attention to squalor or romanticism.
There is discomfort in stability, where the "lost generation" struggled to find stability Larkin wishes to break away from it.
His early works rely heavily on his influences but as he grew older he strayed farther and farther from their style and their ideals. How does Larkin's poetry reflect the themes of the post-war generation? Concluding Questions Is his use of "blunt language" effective in order to get his point across in his poetry?

Can his themes relate to current issues and events? 'The Movement', a group of young English writers who rejected the prevailing fashion for neo-Romantic writing in the style of Yeats and Dylan Thomas. Like Hardy, Larkin focused on intense personal emotion but strictly avoided sentimentality or self-pity.
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