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The appearance of Philip Larkin’s second prose collection – reviews and critical assessments of writers and writing; pieces on jazz, mostly uncollected; some long, revealing and often highly entertaining interviews given on various occasions – was a considerable literary event. Stamped by wit, originality and intelligence, it was vintage Larkin throughout:
‘Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth.’
‘I see life more as an affair of solitude diversified by company than as an affair of company diversified by solitude.’
Q. ‘How did you arrive upon the image of a toad for work or labour?’
A. ‘Sheer genius.’
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