Description: This thesis examines time, death, and choice in Philip Larkin's poetry, arguing that his approach to these themes is not deterministic, but existential. The argument is based on the similarity between Larkin's views and those of three existential philosophers. Larkin's view of time, like Heidegger's, is that men live not in long stretches of time, but in processions of unconnected yet similar moments. A constant underlying sadness, like Kierkegaard's despair, makes each moment reminiscent of death. Like Sartre, Larkin finds meaning in his choices, and struggles to live authentically without expectation. Although Thomas Hardy influenced Larkin, given these similarities, Larkin's poetry cannot rightly be called deterministic. It is an attempt to preserve experience for its own sake.
Date: December 1982
Creator: Paule, Elizabeth Emily
Partner: UNT Libraries