Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica - Radio 4's Book of the Week

So good to listen this week to Philip Larkin's 'Letters to Monica', his woman-friend of 40 years or so, to whom he wrote reams of letters. The readings are Radio 4's Book of the Week and the episodes are read by Hugh Bonneville. The next episode will be the last one, but you can listen to them again on the BBC iPlayer for a few days more. - Details here: Book of the Week. The letters give the lie to Larkin's being a dour, depressing fellow, as some people think. They are so warm, so personal, so inventive. I feel that any Monica would have treasured them, as this Monica must have, since, apparently, nearly two thousand letters were discovered after her death.

Since I first was introduced to Larkin's poetry I have liked it quite inordinately. I also enjoyed "A Girl in Winter", one of his two novels. When working in the Market Research department at Reckitt's in the holidays as a student, I did a bit of work for Philip Larkin in connection with the use of the stacks at the university library. When the work was completed, my boss went to lunch with my idol (at that time), and she brought me his autograph, neat and dated, on University of Hull headed paper. I was pleased to have it of course, but would have been so delighted if I could have been the one who had lunch with him...

Next month will see the 25th anniversary of Larkin's death. There are some celebratory (free) lectures still to come at the University of Hull. For details see this Philip Larkin Society webpage.