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The book offers a detailed commentary on the poetry of Philip Larkin, exploring the political and cultural contexts which have shaped his contemporary reputation. Part 1, Life and Times, traces Larkin's early years and follows his development, within his career as a university librarian, into one of the most important and popular voices in twentieth-century poetry. Part 2, Artistic Strategies, explores a range of methodologies and aesthetic influences by which Larkin was able to create poetry at once both accessible and profound. Part 3, Reading Larkin, provides detailed critical commentary on many of the poems from his three major collections, The Less Deceived, The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows. Part 4, Reception, outlines the history of Larkin's reputation from the mid-1950s to the present, examining the debates and ideological confrontations to which his poetry has given rise.

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