Philip Larkin’s Poetics

Theory and Practice of an English Post-war Poet


In Philip Larkin’s Poetics István D. Rácz offers a reading of Larkin’s credo that systematically discusses the links between his principles and practice – a discussion notably absent up to now from the many studies of this outstanding post-1945 British poet. While Larkin claimed that his poetry did not need any explication, Rácz argues that a careful reading reveals a coherent poetics. This thoroughgoing discussion of the oeuvre provides ample evidence that Larkin’s poetry of interacting opposites creates a logically organized system based on principles to be found in his poetics.
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Biographical Note

ISTVÁN D. RÁCZ is a Professor of English at the University of Debrecen and Director of the Institute of English and American Studies at UD. He has published books and studies on post-1945 British poetry, translation studies and romantic poetry.

Table of contents

Introduction: Larkin and Poetics

Larkin’s Principles of Writing Poetry

Chapter 1 Experience and the Tradition of “the English Line”

Chapter 2 Beauty, Truth and Deception:

The Art of Choosing

Chapter 3 Audenesque Larkin: Non-literary Literature

Chapter 4 Character, Mask and Monologue

Chapter 5 Hardyesque Larkin: Pain in Agnostic Narratives

Chapter 6 Language, Death and Transcendence

Writing about Time

Chapter 7 Time as Prison and the Chances of Escape

Chapter 8 Aging

Chapter 9 Time as Space




Those interested in post-1945 British poetry, in Philip Larkin studies and the general problems of poetics, particularly academics, undergaduate and postgraduate students of English Literature.


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