Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica

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9780571239092: Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica
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Philip Larkin met Monica Jones at University College Leicester in autumn 1946, when they were both twenty-four; he was the newly-appointed assistant librarian and she was an English lecturer. In 1950 Larkin moved to Belfast, and thence to Hull, while Monica remained in Leicester, becoming by turns his correspondent, lover and closest confidante, in a relationship which lasted over forty years until the poet's death in 1985.

This remarkable unpublished correspondence only came to light after Monica Jones's death in 2001, and consists of nearly two thousand letters, postcards and telegrams, which chronicle - day by day, sometimes hour by hour - every aspect of Larkin's life and the convolutions of their relationship.

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Review:

'There are moments of great tenderness and insight ... This is a proper correspondence, intelligent but easy, fluent, encouraging; we see the charm and the point of sitting down, at the end of the day, or the beginning of an evening, and putting one's thoughts into writing, and sending them off to someone we love.' --Guardian Paperback Choice

'Not only are they funny, sad and true; they are also charmingly replete with 1950s detail, evoking a world of curry-powder concoctions, rasping gas fires, and long but civilised train journeys.' --Observer

'To lovers of the poetry, this selection of correspondence that lasted forty years is completely fascinating - not just for the inadvertent light it shines on the poetry but also for the elucidation of Larkin's own taste and his opinion of his own work and worth. The length and intimate nature of Larkin's relationship with Monica Jones gives the letters and the opinions they express a compelling authenticity and almost vunerable honesty.' --William Boyd, TLS

'His low-key but oddly forceful personality is one of the things that comes out most vividly in the work - the letters are part of the poetry in that sense - and is a sort of poetic statement in itself.' --Derek Mahon, Literary Review

'These are the most intimate letters of a major poet ... Throughout, you can see the poems coming, poems you know by heart.' -- David Sexton, Evening Standard

'Philip Larkin is the best-loved poet of the last 100 years, and these irresistibly readable letters reveal the life and personality more intimately than ever before . . . He is constantly and inventively funny, concocting parodies and spoofs with loving care . . . the total effect is exhilarating. You feel sorry when you turn the last page. He said of Mansfield's journal that it made readers "more sensitive, more receptive, happier than before". These letters do the same.' --John Carey, Sunday Times

'As an editor, Thwaite treads softly. His unobtrusive cuts give a shape to the letters, bringing Larkin's clear-eyed observations of love, work and his surroundings to the fore. Fans will find the drafts of his poems particularly thrilling.' --Emma Hughes, Country Life

'Larkin's letters are affectionate, flirting, playful, even whimsical. There is something of Mass Observation about them - reflections on life, literature, domestic chores and personal feelings . . . one warms to the pair in their decent (if distanced) domesticity.' --Iain Finlayson, The Times

'Not only are they funny, sad and true; they are also charmingly replete with 1950s detail, evoking a world of curry-powder concoctions, rasping gas fires, and long but civilised train journeys.' --Rachel Cooke, Observer Books of the Year

'Unfailingly exhilarating.' --The Times

'Irresistibly readable ... exhilarating, and you feel sorry when you turn the last page.' --Sunday Times 'Our Choice'

'This superbly edited selection opens a fascinating window into the mind and spirit of Larkin ... I'd defy anyone to read this and not be impressed by his honesty, judgement and emotional intelligence.' --Mail on Sunday

'Peppered with wry humour and biting critiques, these letters are as much a social and cultural history as a reflection of his tenderness towards [Jones] ... exceptional.' --Irish Times

'I don't ordinarily like reading people's letters. Usually, too many punches get knowingly, smirkingly pulled. Larkin, of course, is different: hilarious, pathetic, niggardly, mischievous, baiting, amusingly domestic, insincere, placating and occasionally loving, and brilliant, incisive and true; he's us, in our best and worst selves written better than we could write it. Why else would a critic argue that he's the 'best-loved poet of the past 100 years'? In these letters, no less than in his poems, he stands rather nakedly before us only this time with a damp dish towel over his wrist, the room gone a bit too cold, thinking about listening to the radio from bed.' --Richard Ford, Guardian Books of the Year

Book Description:

Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica, edited by Anthony Thwaite, is remarkable collection of letters that reveals the unseen life of Philip Larkin.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780571239108: Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica (Faber Poetry)

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ISBN 10: 0571239102 ISBN 13: 9780571239108
Publisher: Faber & Faber, 2011
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