MS letter from Philip Larkin to Charles Monteith, 26 June 1980

Scope and Content

MS letter from Philip Larkin to Charles Monteith. On writing paper printed with Larkin’s home address at the head, and dated in his hand. Refers to an Encaenia at the University of Oxford, a ceremony to which Larkin and Monica Jones (Larkin’s partner between 1950 and his death) had been invited by Monteith. Also refers to Larkin and Jones’s previously second hand knowledge of the Encaenia, which they had had “only through Betjeman’s (Sir John Betjeman, 1906-1984, English poet, writer and broadcaster, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom between 1972 and his death) account in 'An Oxford University Chest'” (a book about the culture of the University of Oxford). Mentions Harold Macmillan (1894-1986, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1957 and 1963 and Chancellor of the University of Oxford between 1960 and 1986) “playing his part nobly”. (As the university Chancellor, Macmillan opened the Encaenia and admitted the candidates to their honorary degrees.) Mentions being “present when ADP gained his DLiH”. Relates an anecdote about an abusive piece of graffiti, Larkin having found it in the lift of a building at the University of Hull, where he worked. Notes that Larkin continues to await information from his “other publisher”, giving the London postal address of the unnamed individual. Refers to the possibility of re-making a sound recording of Larkin’s poetry “without anything from 'The Less Deceived'” (1955, poetry collection). Finally refers to Jones’s fragile health. In white paper envelope stamped with the time, date and location of postage, and addressed in Larkin’s hand, using Monteith’s home address.

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