Video appunto: Larkin, Philip and Hughes, Ted - Life and themes

Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

Larkin was born in 1922 in Coventry and was educated at Oxford University. His life is characterised by loneliness and sense of loss, which represent the “Movement” poets, who were suffering from England’s progressive loss of power.


Larkin’s view of poetry and life are similar, he stated that thanks to Thomas Hardy he managed to understand how daily life fits into poetry.
His characters and poems are always defeated and unhappy. His most used symbols are the photograph, which freezes the action, and the room, that reflects the character’s personality.

Ted Hughes (1930-1998)

Hughes was born in 1930 in Yorkshire. He studied at Cambridge where he became deeply interested in archaeology and anthropology. This will influence his poetry, which will be connected to the concept of the pre-human animal world, and will be highly influenced by WWI and Modern History. He married Sylvia Plath and moved with her to the USA, where they were both professors. They then came back to England, and after his wife’s death, Hughes stopped writing for three tears until when he published “Birthday Letters”, a collection dedicated to his wife.


Hughes’ view of violence isn’t as a refuge from the modern, civilised world, but it is seen as natural. Men have only developed their rational part, and the poet’s task is to reveal their inner instincts and imagination, without repressing them. Animals are thus symbols of human experiences.