Philip Larkin and secularisation

Rashid, Muhammad (2018) Philip Larkin and secularisation. Masters thesis (MPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Philip Larkin’s work covers a span of life that marks one of the most turbulent and transitional stages in British history: having WW2 at one end and the ‘swinging sixties’ at the other, it serves as a really useful document about not only Larkin’s personal life but also the contemporary cultural, social and political circumstances. With war working as a catalyst, the slow and steady process of secularisation in English society covers a journey of, perhaps, centuries within decades. The old established ways in every sphere of life, challenged by the new generation, emerge in the form of a ‘youth culture’ characterised by a spirit of freedom. Consequently, the pre-war communal values are replaced by the individual and materialistic concerns of an ambitious generation.
The process leaves its marks on Larkin’s work from the very beginning to the very end. His novels and first published collection of poems show his deep concern for the miserable situation of a war-stricken people. The Less Deceived (1955), urged mostly by the unfulfilled war-time promises in the immediate post-war era, is characterised by a rejection of myths. The third collection, The Whitsun Weddings (1964), features the poet’s frustration over the growing materialistic pursuits in the contemporary age. Finally, The High Windows (1974) takes the form of a bitter satire over the excessively libertarian attitude as well as the myth of life as a whole. This pattern has been followed also in the chapter-wise division of the thesis where the argument, taking its initiative from a humanistic approach, deflates the mythical as well as materialistic aspect of life, and concludes in the need for a harmonious whole where individual freedom and communal values, keeping within the rational limits, go hand in hand.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England > DA110 Social life and customs. Civilization. Intellectual life
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR6000 1900-1960 > PR6023.A66 Larkin, Philip
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2018 09:06
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2018 09:06
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78678

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