What Can We Still Take from Philip Larkin?
This Week on the History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today? Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
During his life, Philip Larkin (1922-1985) was a beloved national figure, a bald and bespectacled librarian by day who spent his evenings writing smart, accomplished, and hilariously self-deprecating poems. After his death, his reputation and legacy became more complicated, as revelations about his personal life threatened to darken a once-bright sky. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at a near-perfect poet and a far-from-perfect person, reflecting on what we ask from art and artists, and what we can still take from Larkin in particular.