Photocopied letters from Philip Larkin to Monica Jones

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The letters were collated as part of the research for the book "Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica", edited by Anthony Thwaite

Administrative / Biographical History

Monica Jones was an academic, working in the Department of English at the University of Leicester for 35 years. But she is best known as the long-term companion of Philip Larkin, whom she met in 1947 when Larkin took up a position in the university's library.

Monica Jones was born in Llanelli, but the family moved to Stourport on Severn in Worcestershire when she was seven and she attended the Girls' High School in Kidderminster. From there she won a scholarship and studied English at St Hugh's College Oxford, gaining a first. After graduation she worked as a teacher for a couple of years and then took up a post at the University of Leicester, in 1946.

As well as being a sometime muse for Philip Larkin, Monica Jones was represented twice in fiction - as Margaret Peel in 'Lucky Jim' by Kingsley Amis and in Malcolm Bradbury's 'Eating People is Wrong'.

Larkin and Jones met in 1947 and became lovers in 1950, shortly before Larkin left Leicester to take up a post at Queen's University Belfast. Their relationship continued, with Larkin's subsequent move to Hull in 1955, and endured until Larkin's death in 1985. Monica Jones was faithful to Larkin, although he was unfaithful to her, having relationships with other women until the late 1970s. In 1981 Jones retired early on the grounds of ill health and moved in with Larkin, who left the bulk of his estate to her on his death in 1985. Interpreting Larkin's ambiguous will, she destroyed his volumes of private diaries and papers. She continued to live in his house, increasingly as a recluse, for 15 years until her death in 2001. Following her death, her correspondence with Larkin was deposited at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

For further details see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2001/mar/15/guardianobituaries.books

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Conditions Governing Use

Larkin Estate (administered by the Society of Authors)

Custodial History

Deposited by Anthony Thwaite in 2010

Related Material

Hull University Archives:

Papers of Philip Larkin [U DPL] including letters to Larkin from his mother, Eva Larkin

Philip Larkin's personal library

Philip Larkin's personal record collection

Philip Larkin's photograph collection [U DLV]

Papers of the Larkin family [U DLN] including letters from Larkin to his mother, Eva Larkin

Correspondence with numerous friends, fellow poets, colleagues etc, including: Barry Bloomfield [U DX213], Colin Gunner [ U DP179], Brenda Moon, [U DX257], Andrew Motion [U DP207], James Sutton [U DP174 and U DP182], Ted Tarling [U DP177], Anthony Thwaite [U DP181]

Papers of Anthony Thwaite relating to his editorship of "Larkin at Sixty" [U DP/188] and as literary executor to Philip Larkin [U DAT, uncatalogued]

Papers of Monica Jones [U DMA uncatalogued]

Books given to Monica Jones by Philip Larkin

Papers of Maeve Brennan [U DMB uncatalogued and closed to 2033]

Philip Larkin book collection [P/L] Published works by or about Larkin

Other repositories:

Larkin Workbook No 1, British Library [Ad. Ms 52619]

Correspondence between Philip Larkin and Monica Jones, Bodleian Library: Department of Western Manuscripts