Philip Larkin: Voices and Values
Philip Larkin had a good voice. By that I mean that it was effective in conveying his meaning, agreeable to listen to, and capable of registering different shades of feeling with some sensitivity. Although he suffered from a stammer at one period of his life, he controlled his voice so well during his mature years that its hesitations became almost undetectable; and his reading and speaking voice had an instantly pleasing, even winning quality about it. It was also, as some voices are, instantly recognisable: it was Philip’s voice, and no one else’s, and as we lament his death we may well realise the sensitivity of Tennyson’s
But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
KeywordsBeach Hull Nylon Defend Lost
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- 5.Philip Larkin, Le Nozze di Pentecoste, trs. Renato Oliva and Camillo Pennati (Torino, 1969) p. 115.Google Scholar
- 6.Charles Salter, ‘Unusual Words Beginning with “un”, “en”, “out”, “up” and “on”, in Thomas Hardy’s Verse’, Victorian Poetry, vol. xi (Winter 1973) pp. 257–61.Google Scholar
- 7.Seamus Heaney, ‘Englands of the Mind’, in Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968–1978 (London: Faber and Faber, 1980), esp. p. 150.Google Scholar
- 8.Roland Barthes, Writing Degree Zero, trs. Annette Lavers and Colin Smith (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1968) pp. 10–11.Google Scholar
- 13.Francis Berry, Poetry and the Physical Voice (London: Faber and Faber, 1962) pp. 102–3.Google Scholar
- 14.See Franklin R. Rogers, Painting and Poetry, Form, Metaphor and the Language of Literature (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1985) for a discussion of metaphor and the visual perception.Google Scholar
- 19.Barbara Everett, Poets in their Time: Essays on English Poetry from Donne to Larkin (London: Faber and Faber, 1986) p. 245. There are two fine essays on Larkin in this book; this quotation is taken from the second of them, ‘Larkin’s Edens’.Google Scholar
© Dale Salwak 1989