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Five stars for Larkin less two stars for Burnett
on 7 March 2012
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?