Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man

April 12, 2011

How the most exasperating of poets met his match
By Christopher Hitchens

"IN MAY 1941, Philip Larkin was the treasurer of the Oxford University English Club and in that capacity had to take the visiting speaker George Orwell out to dinner after he had addressed the membership on the subject of “Literature and Totalitarianism.” Larkin’s main recollection: “We took Dylan Thomas to the Randolph and George Orwell to the not-so-good hotel. I suppose it was my first essay in practical criticism."

Read More (The Atlantic)


You must admit: this is an awkward line.

"Many of Larkin’s expeditions to churches were in fact an excuse to visit cemeteries or memorials, in spite of his repudiation of the fantasy of immortality, and with another of the finest poetic results of these—“An Arundel Tomb”—it turns out he had taken Monica along as a companion and later accepted some of her thoughtful proposals concerning its final form."

Grazia Neri said...

What a wonderful text

M said...


Last paragraph brought a lump to my throat.


Christopher reads from Hitch-22: A Memoir