How does Philip Larkin relate the poem "This be the Verse" to his life (or relationship to his parents)? I read in an article "In letters to friends he (Larkin) told how his parents' relationship had put him off marriage." Doesn't this relate to the poem "This be the Verse"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the poem "This be the verse," Phillip Larkin presents a very negative view of parents:

They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

One might want to deduce from this that Larkin had a miserable childhood and a poor relationship with his parents.   However, in an interview conducted in the Paris Review, Larkin stated: "My childhood was all right, comfortable and stable and loving." 

I was not able to locate the article that you mention about the relationship between Larkin's parents.

It could be that Larkin holds no particular grudge against his parents; rather, he means to say that we all inherit faults from our parents, who in turn inherited their faults from their parents. 

If this doesn't sound very optimistic, you must remember that Larkin is not a very optimistic poet.






Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial