Despite the denigrating revelations of his published letters, Philip Larkin looms larger than ever, both as an English national icon and as a championed voice of postwar English poetry. Philip Larkin, Popular Culture, and the English Individual seeks to move beyond the decades-long preoccupation with Larkin's reputation and canonical status, approaching Larkin instead as part of a persevering cultural phenomenon through which the traditionally distinguished individual is reconstituted in the company of the ordinary and the interchangeable. It tracks how Larkin's poetic texts negotiate and engage with representations of popular culture at a time when notions of celebrity, authenticity, and cultural authority were newly (and deeply) unsettled by rock and roll, and when cultural capital had become a coveted substitute for diminished imperial wealth. From his unprecedented f-bombs to his cultivation of a familiar, comedic personality, this book examines how Larkin realigns common social practices and popular art forms-be it attending a church service, watching television, or enjoying a concert-to the isolated, knowing gaze of the individual.
About the Author
J. Ryan Hibbett is assistant professor of English at Northern Illinois University.