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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less deceived, 24 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin (Hardcover)
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 I can imagine Larkin's 'poem unpublished in the poet's lifetime' on the subject
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Feb 2012 16:54:17 GMT
You review has been truncated. Pity!

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2012 18:46:41 GMT
Scampo says:
Thank you for this review - excellent. I have ordered the book - what a great poet he was - man I would enjoy meeting.
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