Tag Archives: literature

‘We used to correspond’: the letters of Barbara Pym and Philip Larkin

A reading of the letters of Philip Larkin and Barbara Pym by Oliver Ford Davies and Triona Adams, with an introduction by Anthony Thwaite, OBE.

Date: 10 December 2016, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Venue: Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

When Philip Larkin first wrote to Barbara Pym in 1961 it was the minor poet approaching the celebrated novelist. While their literary fortunes were to change dramatically the correspondence and the friendship remained steady over nearly 20 years. Highly entertaining, fascinating and often deeply moving, the Pym-Larkin letters tell the story of an extraordinary relationship between two very different characters united in their passion for the written word and of fall and rise of a literary career.

Tickets cost £20, including refreshments.

To book please contact the Friends of the Bodleian Administrator on 01865 277234 or at fob@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Further details at http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/friends/fob-events/2016/we-used-to-correspond

Philip Larkin and Judy Egerton letters.

Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin

In 2003 the Bodleian purchased the correspondence of the poet Philip Larkin and his great friend, the art historian and curator, Judy Egerton. These letters were closed to researchers during Egerton’s lifetime, but are now available and the catalogue has been mounted online.

Larkin was sub-librarian at Queen’s University Belfast in 1951 when he first met Egerton, and their correspondence dates from 1954 (the year before Larkin’s first substantial volume of poetry, The Less Deceived, was published) until the time of his death in 1985. It is an amicable, gossipy and mutually affectionate exchange, more in the vein of his correspondence with Barbara Pym than the comically – and not-so comically – strident tones adopted by male friends like Kingsley Amis, or the frequently tense and unhappy letters to his lover, Monica Jones.

-Judith Priestman, Curator of Modern Literary Manuscripts