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Renowned critic, bestselling author and award-winning poet Clive James offers an exploration and celebration of one of his favourite writers, Philip Larkin.

A love letter from one of the world's most critically acclaimed writers to one of its most cherished poets. Clive James was a life-long admirer of the work of Philip Larkin. Somewhere Becoming Rain gathers all of James's writing on this towering literary figure of the twentieth century, together with extra material now published for the first time. The greatness of Larkin's poetry continues to be obscured by the opprobrium attaching to his personal life and his private opinions. James writes about Larkin's poems, his novels, his jazz and literary criticism; he also considers the two major biographies, Larkin's letters and even his portrayal on stage in order to chart the extreme and, he argues, largely misguided equivocations about Larkin's reputation in the years since his death. Through this joyous and perceptive book, Larkin's genius is delineated and celebrated. James argues that Larkin's poems, adored by discriminating readers for over half a century, could only have been the product of his reticent, diffident, flawed, and all-too-human personality.

Details

ISBN13: 9781529028850
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of Pages: 128
Edition:
Publication Date: 2 Sep 2021
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication City, Country: New York, United States
Dimensions (cm): 19.7(H) x 13(W) x 1.4(S)152
Weight (gm): 152

Author Biography

Clive James is the multi-million-copy bestselling author of more than forty books. His poetry collection Sentenced to Life and his translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy were both Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, and his collections of verse have been shortlisted for many prizes. In 2012 he was appointed CBE and in 2013 an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Reviews

The brilliance of James's analysis, his clear-sighted view of Larkin's solitude and humanity, and the fragile friendship between the two recorded in the book's final pages, provide a monument to human connection and isolation together. It's a perfect example of the "almost instinct" Larkin managed to prove "almost true" (hedging his bets to the end) - that what will survive of us is love. -- Andrew Hunter Murray * Guardian *
A collection of witty essays by a great critic about a great poet . . . What will survive of Larkin is the work, and this small book is a joyful immersion in it. This is the finest critic of his generation on the best poet of his lifetime * The Times *
To read a major critic on a major poet is one of the great pleasures. Clive James's passion for the work of Philip Larkin, his intense scrutiny which reveals an extraordinary empathy makes Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected Writings on Philip Larkin an outstanding book. -- Melvyn Bragg * New Statesman, Books of the Year 2019 *
This slim collection of Clive James' writings on Philip Larkin demonstrates both a life-long passion for the poet's work and a deep critical endeavour to rehabilitate his reputation as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. A collection to savour two-fold - for the genius of Larkin and the playful erudition of James * Financial Times, Best Books of 2019 *
This is a tribute to Larkin's poems. James is good at reminding us why and how they were powerful, multivalent and memorable . . . He is also unusually observant. His parallels between Larkin and Montale are elucidating * TLS *
James's criticism is a constant delight, since it arises always from unprescriptive reading and rereading . . .Insights of this quality are rare, and we get more than our fair share of them in this volume * The Critic *
Few contemporary critics display the passionate commitment to the idea of poetry, and to the idea of poetry's centrality to civilized life, that James does -- John Banville * New York Review of Books *
One of the most important and influential writers of our time -- Bryan Appleyard * Sunday Times *
'[James] was what you might call a massive Philip Larkin fan. His specific fandom was feverish and absolute - and also, because he was Clive James, deeply considered and beautifully expressed . . . it's a privilege to look back at Larkin - all of Larkin - through the prism of [James's] appreciation * Atlantic *
Perceptive . . . This volume also allows the reader to delight in James's own prose, which surely rivals Larkin's in the wit and insight stakes * The Crack *
The late Clive James had much in common with Philip Larkin . . . In verse and prose, both blazed with wit and wrote scores of memorable lines . . . although their work was laced with sadness, few writers since have written with such beauty and gratitude about the world * Review 31 *
A bracing testament to James' devotion to poetry and Larkin's poetry in particular . . . a deeply felt and well-written book * sp!ked *
Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected Writings on Philip Larkin
1999

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