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Record 20285

Reading Experience:

'Although Larkin had first read them [Auden and Isherwood] at KHS [his school], it wasn't until he reached Oxford that he began fully to appreciate their irony and ebullient detachment (he described Isherwood's first novel, "All the Conspirators", as being like "life photographed"). Eventually Larkin would praise Auden as "the first 'modern' poet, in that he could employ modern properties unselfconsciously". Reading him in St John's during his first term he felt: "Auden rose like a sun. It is impossibly to convey the intensity of the delight felt by a ... mind reared on 'Drake's Drum', 'Westminster Bridge' and 'Ode to a Nightingale, when a poet is found speaking a language thrilling and beautiful, and describing things so near to everyday life that their once-removedness strikes like a strange cymbal. We entered the land, books in hand, like travellers with a guidebook... 'Poems', 'The Orators' and 'Look, Stranger!' seemed three fragments of revealed truth... To read 'The Journal of an Airman' was like being allowed half an hour's phone conversation with God".'
Century: 1900-1945
Date: Until: 1 Oct 1940
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: city: Coventry
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Philip Larkin
Age Child (0-17)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 9 Aug 1922
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: later poet
Religion: n/a
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: William Wordsworth
Title: 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge'
Genre: Poetry
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 20285  
Source - Print  
  Author: Andrew Motion
  Editor: n/a
  Title: Philip Larkin. A Writer's Life
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1993
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 43-4
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Andrew Motion, Philip Larkin. A Writer's Life (London, 1993), p. 43-4,, accessed: 19 January 2022

Additional comments:



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)