Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected Writings on Philip Larkin (Hardback)
  • Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected Writings on Philip Larkin (Hardback)
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Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected Writings on Philip Larkin (Hardback)

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Hardback 160 Pages
Published: 03/10/2019
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Waterstones Says

A penetrating yet characteristically entertaining study of one of the twentieth-century’s great poets by one of our greatest living critics. By addressing Larkin’s controversial personal life in relation to his work, James builds a rounded portrait of a flawed individual who poured his vulnerabilities into his seminal poetry.   

A love letter from one of the world's best living writers to one of its most cherished poets.

Clive James is 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.

Erudite and entertaining in equal measure, Somewhere Becoming Rain is a love letter from one of the world's best living writers to one of its most cherished poets.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781529028829
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 264 g
Dimensions: 205 x 137 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

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

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

One of the most important and influential writers of our time - Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

In Somewhere Becoming Rain, Clive James’s collected essays on the poetry of Philip Larkin, 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

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 - Best Books of 2019, Financial Times

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] 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

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