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These letters throw light on a more complex figure than most readers will probably be expecting. Whether addressing his literary friends, who included Barbara Pym, Kingsley Amis and John Betjeman, or those less prominently placed, Larkin shows himself to be a frank and generous letter-writer. Confessions, jokes, advice, scurrilities, pronouncements on literature and jazz, impromptu verses, published here for the first time, gossip and wisdom abound in these pages. They offer a view of a poet's progress from brash youth to ...

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