Sunday, May 20, 2012

The latest number of the New York Review contains a eulogistic review by Christopher Ricks of a new ultrascholarly edition of the poems of the English reprobate Philip Larkin.  I have never had the slightest interest in Larkin, who strikes me as a person of no significance at any level.  Apparently I am not alone, as this little nosegay gathered from the Internet attests.

Philip Larkin - The Whitsun Weddings

"I hate Philip Larkin.

I hate Emily Bronte.

I hate creative writing.

I hate sitting still for 2 hours at a time."

"Philip Larkin is one of the most pathetic writers ever.
He's an emo...and a loser. He is very lame."

"Philip Larkin sucks tho. That's not opinion, it's objective fact."

"ur jus seyin philip larkn is a loser!!!
i cudnt agree mor!!!!!!!!!
mysoginistic freak!"

"Oh my God, I HATE Philip Larkin. If I wanted to be depressed, I would listen to The Used."

"I hate Philip Larkin with a passion. Creepy old man, lurking outside the dance hall watching the pretty young girls.."

"This poetry has no redemption or beauty. It is dry, sarcastic, dismal, and plain out unhealthy to the mind. It's not worth it."

"I hate Philip Larkin and his ridiculous collection of poems"

"Larkin's portrayal of life is painfully depressing. There is no sense of positivity, but rather melancholy, doom and gloom, sadness, depression, failure, misgivings, misfortune, darkness. It is not what a 17-year-old reader wishes to read about what he will endure over the coming years ... This collection is not a pick-me-up ... It is not the quality of his poems that make this colection an unwelcome read; it is the subject, the general feeling exuded. This is not a warm, cheerful book.

So whilst the poet is evidently vastly talented and whilst his talent is impressive, this book does not justify its purchase. There is adequate sadness in the world, without one paying one's money to read Larkin's arduously depressing perception of life in further detail. I regret having taken English Literature, largely because of this text - it is not a worthwhile read."

POSTSCRIPT (May 25).  At his bedside when he died Christopher Hitchens kept two books: one by P. G. Wodehouse and the other the poems of Philip Larkin.  What a sad end!  When I was in high school I loved Wodehouse, but have felt no wish to return to his trivia.  As for Larkin, with his misogyny, racism, and general grumpiness, he represents the triumph of the principle of diminished expectations.  I am old now--but not that old!


Blogger Burk said...

One of the great lines...

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

8:17 PM  

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