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The reappearance of Philip Larkin's Required Writing will be welcomed by the late poet's many readers and admirers. The book's first two parts, "Recollections" and "Interviews," provide autobiographical glimpses of the very private Larkin's childhood, his youth at Oxford, the genesis of his forty-year career as a librarian, and the influences that initially steered his poetry.
The second half of the book reflects Larkin's literary standards and opinions in often witty and surprising, always beautifully wrought, essays and reviews. His subjects range from Emily Dickinson (were her first lines her best?) to the contemporary mystery novel. Required Writing concludes with a selection of pieces on jazz music.
Philip Larkin was the author of poetry collections, including High Windows, The Whitsun Weddings, and The Less Deceived; a book of essays entitled All What Jazz: A Record Diary; and two novels, Jill, and A Girl in Winter, published early in his career. Required Reading was originally published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.