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A revelatory, intimate, and sympathetic study of Philip Larkin, an iconic poet and a much misunderstood man, offering fresh understanding of the interplay of his life and work.
Philip Larkin (1922-1985) is one of the most beloved poets in English. Yet after his death a largely negative image of the man himself took hold; he has been portrayed as a racist, a misogynist and a narcissist. Now Larkin scholar James Booth, for seventeen years a colleague of the poets at the University of Hull, offers a very different portrait. Drawn from years of research and a wide variety of Larkins friends and correspondents, this is the most comprehensive portrait of the poet yet published.
Booth traces the events that shaped Larkin in his formative years, from his early life when his his political instincts were neutralised by exposure to his fathers controversial Nazi values. He studies how the academic environment and the competition he felt with colleagues such as Kingsley Amis informed not only Larkins poetry, but also his little-known ambitions as a novelist.
Through the places and people Larkin encountered over the course of his life, including Monica Jones, with whom he had a tumultuous but enduring relationship, Booth pieces together an image of a rather reserved and gentle man, whose personalityand poetry--have been misinterpreted by decades of academic study. Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love reveals the man behind the words as he has never been seen before.