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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is 'the' comprehensive collection.
There are likely to be two reasons why you would read a review on this page. Firstly, you may be new to Larkin's poetry and looking for a good guide to his work. Secondly, you may already be familiar with his collection of poems, particularly if you already own some of the previous collections.

With regards to the first point, I would like to keep the review...
Published on 20 Jan 2012 by A. Robertson

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42 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear
There are many things wrong with this book. I find it odd that Faber would subject Larkin, who felt poets should stay out of the Universities (working in the library didn't count), to an academic volume of his work. The list of people who could have done a better job is long. But the criteria that the person valued the poems 'above all else' should have been top of the...
Published on 10 Feb 2012 by the whitless weddings


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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is 'the' comprehensive collection., 20 Jan 2012
By 
A. Robertson - See all my reviews
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There are likely to be two reasons why you would read a review on this page. Firstly, you may be new to Larkin's poetry and looking for a good guide to his work. Secondly, you may already be familiar with his collection of poems, particularly if you already own some of the previous collections.

With regards to the first point, I would like to keep the review fairly terse. Larkin's poetry is superlative. He can be quite gloomy at times, but never fails to be wonderfully astute and thought provoking. In this collection, you have everything; possibly too much making it, at times, tricky to navigate. Perhaps try some of the earlier collections if this puts you off. The latter half of the book is dedicated to corrections and commentary, which, in some places, can be very detailed. To somebody that is relatively 'green' when it comes to Larkin I would suggest starting with High Windows to get a real taste of his best work.

Focusing on the second point, the additional material when compared to the earlier collections is certainly more extensive. Considering the price tag however, I could understand why people would perhaps only recommend this collection to avid fans. If you are only casually interested in his poetry then go for one of the earlier collections. Despite this, I am pleasantly surprised by the clearly erudite investment that has been put into this new collection and am very glad to have made the purchase.

The book itself is very well made and fairly large. Obviously at 700+ pages it's going to be big but the pages are fairly thick which does add to the expected size. On the plus side however, there is no need to fear this book falling into the all too obvious cliché whereby all the pages soon start falling out - something I've found many other large books succumb to relatively quickly.

In summary, this is a well thought out collection, clearly put together by someone very familiar with Larkin's work, containing large amounts of insightful additional material on top of his COMPLETE work. It may be slightly overwhelming for a newcomer and is obviously more expensive than the other collections out there, but probably for good reason.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less deceived, 24 Jan 2012
By 
Alan Tucker (Stroud, Gloucestershire Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This thick heavy book weighs approximately one and a half kilos, see product details above. There are 759 pages made up as follows: Introduction pages i-xxx; pages 5-95 poems from the four published books containg almost all Larkin's notable poetry, i.e. pages 5-24 The North Ship; pp25-46 The Less Deceived; pp50-72 The Whitsun Weddings and pages 73-95 High Windows.

Pages 99-120 are taken by other poems published in the poet's lifetime, mainly of interest only in the context of his life's work and reputation. Pages 123-324 are 'Poems not published in the poet's lifetime' - these are taken from letters etc almost entirely occasional verse, often quite funny, occasionally scurrilous. Pages 333 to 671 are editor's notes on individual poems. The remaining pages 675-729 comprise appendices and an index of titles and first lines. There is no general index (it would be too long).

The highly significant XX Poems, an edition of 100 copies Larkin had printed in Belfast in 1951 to circulate to friends and other poets, is covered without enough (for me) detail in the introduction. The Fantasy Press booklet printed in Oxford by Oscar Mellor, only five poems, but again significant in the build up to The Less Deceived, has scant mention. I would have welcomed more information about these two booklets and less quotation from what various critics have had to say about individual poems.

For the general reader there are 90 essential pages in this book. As a work of scholarship the value of the other 600+ requires proper consideration and review. I am glad to have purchased it, yes, all this material should be available for reference. I have loved Larkin's work since someone gave me The Less Deceived in 1956 in the modest neatly designed Marvell Press edition, such a pleasure to read. Now immodestly we have everything. It's a bit of a clunker. I can imagine Larkin's 'poem unpublished in the poet's lifetime' on the subject
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Version Please, 14 Dec 2012
By 
A. Malhotra "Bangoman" (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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Dear Publishers - A Kindle edition would be greatly appreciated. Poetry collections are great things to carry around, for which a digital format is ideal.
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42 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, 10 Feb 2012
There are many things wrong with this book. I find it odd that Faber would subject Larkin, who felt poets should stay out of the Universities (working in the library didn't count), to an academic volume of his work. The list of people who could have done a better job is long. But the criteria that the person valued the poems 'above all else' should have been top of the list in making a selection. Here the editor gives the game away by presenting the poems - in the definitive collection of Larkin's work - not on separate pages but beneath each other. This is something you might accept reluctantly in an anthology where space is at a premium, but not in this 768 page volume. Larkin, who knew the shape of the poem on the page and knowledge of where the poem will end is essential to the reader, would've been appalled. But worse, the vast majority of this book is given over to notes, nearly three quarters of the book - measured by simply holding open the pages - occurs after reprinting Larkin's four published collections. Granted about a third of this space is for unpublished poems, though they too - despite their obvious worth - must come second to Larkin's own presentation of his poems.

The poems are ruined by being split and running over the page at random (making space for those notes!) and are accompanied by line numbering which is, again, only there to aid our use of the dutiful but dull notes.

This book is a hymn to the editor's own scholarly endeavours: in which Larkin would have wished little interest. Faber is a mainstream publisher which has rarely submitted its big poets to this treatment. If you like the poems, do not buy this book, If you are interested in what Professor Archie Burnett has been up to the last ten years, buy it. The length of the notes and the introduction, which show no affection for the poems, overwhelm Larkin's small corner of his own book and speak volumes about the true nature of Burnett's project.

I returned my edition and recommend the Collected Poems (1988) which is available on the second hand market. If Faber keep an eye on the feedback to their collections, can I ask that they think about bringing out a hardback Larkin for those that love and admire the poems -- the perhaps average reader that Larkin was adamant he wrote for?
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5.0 out of 5 stars peoples poet, 29 Dec 2013
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A fantastic book even if you don't read the notes which is substantial....if you do then it enhances the experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 11 April 2013
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J. Billing (London) - See all my reviews
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Bought this for my partner- he loved it. Great read- arrived in perfect condition .A must for Poetry lovers.Thank you
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 12 Jun 2012
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excellent condition, I have had no problems with this item, saw it in bookshop and received exactly what I expected.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed review, 5 May 2012
I have a copy of the early and later collected poems and would certainly welcome a new quality hardcover version of the poems alone. Having said that, whilst the shortcomings of this collection are highlighted in other reviews I have been enjoying the notes and volume edited by Prof Burnett. It is disappointing however that certain poems have the titles missing i.e. Pages 265 and 280 for example. Overall though a very enjoyable new publication on Larkin.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for Larkin less two stars for Burnett, 7 Mar 2012
By 
William D. Freeman "wdavidfreeman" (Southern California) - See all my reviews
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Philip Larkin was a very good poet indeed. Alas, his complete body of work has now been embalmed in this massive tombstone of a book.

Larkin's poetry makes up the first 329 pages. There follows 400 PAGES of editorial commentary, which should never be read by anyone in their right minds least of all lovers of poetry.

Obviously this "scholarly" work is intended for the shelves of university libraries where it can be duly ignored. Faber's edition of the collected poems of Auden does without the academic trappings. Why was it necessary to burden Larkin with all this analysis by exhaustion? Certainly it does not make for an easily-held book let alone an inviting price.

Will Faber & Faber please give the world a reader-friendly edition of Larkin's complete work?
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive edition, 13 Feb 2012
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Finally the definitive edition of Larkin's poetry. A service to those who admire him. Great notes to fill in essential details. Long overdue. Bravo!
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The Complete Poems
The Complete Poems by Philip Larkin (Hardcover - 27 Mar 2012)
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