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A life more ordinary: inside Philip Larkin’s extraordinary everyday

Larkin’s correspondence with his mother put him in touch with the precious texture of the everyday, which he transformed into some of the most sublime poetry since Donne and Marvell

Begin afresh: Philip and Monica in later years

As the ancillary books of correspondence and commentary accumulate, our picture of Philip Larkin grows more nuanced all the time, and at this rate he will soon be as complex a character as your weird uncle, the one who thought that modern society was falling apart for lack of discipline. A new collection, Letters Home, 1936-1977, edited by James Booth, does a vital job of apprising us, if we ever thought the opposite, that Larkin’s father’s pre-war admiration for the Nazis stopped…

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