Amis and Larkin


Martin Amis and Philip Larkin:
A Web of Connections


    The personal and literary connections between Martin Amis and Philip Larkin began in Amis's childhood. For the first ten years of his life, when he lived in South Wales, Larkin was a close friend of Kingsley Amis and a regular visitor to the Amis household (to read Martin Amis's brief recollection of these visits, click here).

    In his late twenties, while serving as fiction and poetry editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Martin Amis published Larkin's poetry in the magazine, including the poem "Aubade" (1977), whose unblinking nihilism informs the emotional landscape of Success (1978).   Another poem that echoes throughout Success is "This Be the Verse" (1971), which encapsulates the family inheritance of the twinned narrators of the novel. [For more on Larkin and his poetry, check out the Academy of American Poets web page on Larkin].

    When Larkin died in 1985, Amis wrote an obituary essay for Vanity Fair, a concise and moving elegy of England's unofficial laureate of diminishment. This piece, and his 1993 New Yorker essay on the history of Larkin's literary reputation, reveal Amis's deep imaginative sympathy for Larkin and his poetry (to read excerpts from and analyses of these essays, click here).

   Allusions to Larkin's writings haunt the margins of Amis's fiction, as Martin Amis Discussion Web denizen Bill Jarma has repeatedly demonstrated. For some examples, click here.

Additional material on Larkin:

bullet Larkin the Lover (Telegraph Arts, 7 July 2003).





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Amis on Larkin--1
Amis on Larkin--2
MA Whitewashes PL
MA a Larkinholic
MA a Larkinholic--2
MA a Larkinholic--3
MA a Larkinholic--4
MA in Larkin
Born Yesterday
Raban on Larkin--1
Raban on Larkin--2


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