Philip Larkin: an Introduction Tracing the Journey to Affirmation

Topics: Philip Larkin, Modernism, The Movement Pages: 3 (980 words) Published: March 9, 2013

Philip Larkin is one of the most celebrated modern poets. He enjoys high reputation among the contemporary poets. As long ago as 1965 one critic talked of him as ‘’the best poet England now has’’(King 1) and ten years later his opinion was reaffirmed by Alan Brownjohn when he claimed that ‘’Larkin has produced the most technically brilliant and resonately beautiful, profoundly disturbing yet appealing and approachable body of verse of any English poet in the last twenty-five years’’(King 1). Larkin was a renowned poet among the group of poets known as ‘Movement Poets’. The assistant literary editor of a periodical in England, Robert Conquest gave the name ‘The Movement’ to the kind of poetry written by a few poets during Nineteen Fifties, and which found to be very different from modernist poetry written in the preceding two decades. This name was attributed to the works of a number of poets, who included Kingsley Amis, John Wain, Elizebeth Jennings, Thom Gunn, Donald Davis and D.J.Enright. Soon afterwards, an anthology called ‘New Lines’, containing the work of these poets appeared; and in it a number of poems by Larkin were also included. Conquest wrote that, this new poetry did not submit to any great systems of theoretical constructs or to any agglomerations of unconscious commands. This new poetory, he wrote, was free from both mystical and logical compulsions, and was emperical in its attitude to all things. The poets of Movement were not an organised group with well-defined and deliberately formulated aims. The poetry of each member of the group was different from others in several ways. But, there were of course, features common to them. Larkin did not give any clear definition to poetry of Movement, but agreed that certain features were common to all of them. Talking about his own poetry, he emphasized the expository, documentary and rational elements in his poems, and these qualities were evident in works of others also. Symbolism was...
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