MS letter from Philip Larkin to Charles Monteith, 13th March 1967

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

MS letter from Philip Larkin to Charles Monteith. On white writing paper printed with Larkin’s home address at the head, and dated in his hand. An imperfectly erased pencil marking below the blue ink, gives the date as 15 March 1967, two days before the date written in ink. Refers to the pleasure of Larkin’s social engagement with Monteith on his most recent visit to All Soul’s College, Oxford, which he mentions enjoying both for “the unique atmosphere of the college” and for “the presence of Bruce”, in particular. “Bruce” probably refers to Robert Bruce Montgomery (1921-1978), the crime writer and composer who was - like Larkin - an alumnus of St John’s College, Oxford. Expresses gratitude for a lunch party, mentioning Larkin’s delight at meeting “H. Gardner” (probably W.H. Gardner, 1902-?, critic). Notes Gardner telling Larkin “not to worry” about the length of time he had spent editing 'The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse' (1973), and that - as editor of the 'New Oxford Book of English Verse' (1972) - Gardner had “been revising” Arthur Quiller-Couch’s 'The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900' “for 10 years”. Apologises for Larkin’s reticence in the company of Robert Lowell (1917-1977, American poet). In white paper envelope marked “personal” and addressed using the office of Faber & Faber, 24 Russell Square, London. Envelope stamped with the time and date of postage, and with the words “Hull” and “Yorkshire A”, indicating the location of the post office used.

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