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Larkin: The Less Deceived

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Professor Seamus Perry (University of Oxford) explores Philip Larkin's 1955 collection of poetry, The Less Deceived. After an introduction to the collection as a whole (including a discussion of the origins of the title 'The Less Deceived' itself), each module discusses two or three poems in the collection that are linked by a common theme. In the second module, for example, we think about the influence of Thomas Hardy on the collection, looking in particular at the poems 'Lines on a Young Lady's Photograph Album' and 'Next, Please'. Other themes discussed include: time, youth and memory (looking at the poems 'Skin', 'Triple Time' and 'Maiden Name'), negativity and nothingness ('I Remember, I Remember', 'Absences'), the ordinary and the commonplace ('Born Yesterday', 'Toads', 'Poetry of Departures'), escape, solitude, and oblivion ('Age', 'Wants', 'Coming'), the artist and aestheticism ('Reasons for Attendance'), religion and the church ('Church Going'), and animals ('Myxomatosis', 'Wires', 'At Grass'). In the tenth and final module, we think about the arrangement of the collection as a whole, which (as we shall see) was carefully considered by Larkin.

About the Lecturer

Seamus' interests are principally in the field of English Romantic poetry and thought, especially Coleridge and Wordsworth, and in post-Romantic English poetry, especially Tennyson, Eliot, Auden, Larkin, and their circles. He also has an interest in the modern history of criticism, reflected in articles on A.C. Bradley, William Empson, F.W. Bateson, and M.H. Abrams. He is co-editor, with Christopher Ricks, of the journal Essays in Criticism: A Quarterly Journal of Literary Criticism (OUP), and the general editor of the new series, 21st-Century Oxford Authors (OUP). He often reviews for the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and the Literary Review. He is also Fellow Librarian of Balliol.