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Intellectuality, Rationality, and Awareness
in the Poetry of the Mind: An Exploration
of Philip Larkin’s Poetry

AL-HAJAJ, JINAN,FEDHIL,BREYO (2016) Intellectuality, Rationality, and Awareness
in the Poetry of the Mind: An Exploration
of Philip Larkin’s Poetry.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis bases its argument on the notion that Philip Larkin’s poetry addresses intellectual and philosophical issues in a way that reflects a profound engagement of the poet’s mind with the world around him. His poetry is often described as direct, transparent, and lucid, but it also harbours esoteric areas and obscurities of thought. The thesis argues that Larkin’s work is preoccupied with fathoming out mental and psychological profundities, and that it tends to philosophise and theorise its own intellectual procedures as it handles and sifts the seemingly everyday commonalities. The poems do not confine themselves to the literality and immediacy of a particular theme, but strive to capture unanticipated contours of thought and contemplation. Larkin’s poetry invokes and triggers a pursuit of underlying perception, enlightenment, and knowledge, and aspires to go beyond that to achieve a sense of wonder and discovery. Hence, a Larkin poem cannot be read linearly without sacrificing what stirs deep in the chosen vocabulary and in the rhetorical and syntactical twists and contortions through which the poems attain their intellectual and meditative impact. Logic and rationality are sometimes enlisted to aid the intellectual quests that Larkin’s poetical personae find themselves engaged in. Imagination, dream, and speculation prevail throughout poems in which the poet seeks to develop an awareness of and understanding of our existential predicament.

The study traces the various elements and aspects of this involvement in thought and introspection in Larkin’s poetry from the very early juvenilia through his first published collection The North Ship (1945), all the way across his mature collections, The Less Deceived (1955), The Whitsun Weddings (1965), and High Windows (1974), to his later and posthumous poems. Each of the above collections is researched in depth across six chapters. The thesis includes an introduction in which the notion of the poetry of the mind is profiled, and the ways it applies to Larkin’s poetry are delineated. It concludes with a coda which reflects upon the main findings of the study.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Ph. D. research, Philip Larkin, intellectuality, mind, rationality, awareness
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Dec 2016 11:20

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