When Philip met Monica: English Professor delivers lecture on Larkin, Friday 11 May
Professor Martin Stannard from our School of English will deliver the annual GS Fraser Lecture for Leicester Poetry Society tomorrow, taking as his subject arguably the University of Leicester’s most famous staff relationship.
Before he became one of Britain’s greatest modern poets, Philip Larkin was Deputy Librarian at what was then called University College Leicester from 1946 to 1950. Here he met English Lecturer Monica Jones, with whom he started a lifelong, but not entirely happy, love affair. Two years ago, Anthony Thwaite edited a collection of the poet’s correspondence Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica and this will form the basis of Martin’s lecture on Friday.
Monica Jones was still working here when Martin joined the University in 1979 so he has some personal memories as well as academic insight into how Larkin’s relationship with his muse was reflected in his work, especially his well-known 1955 poem 'Mr Bleaney'.
For more than 60 years, Leicester Poetry Society has been a small (but dedicated) group of published poets and non-writing members who enjoy reading, discussing and listening to poems. GS Fraser was reader in Modern English Literature in our School of English from 1959 to 1979; a contemporary of Jones and an early champion of Larkin’s work. He was Chairman of LPS and for 20 years taught poetry classes at the University’s adult education centre Vaughan College.
The lecture takes place at The Atrium, 105 Clarendon Park Road on Friday 11 May 2012, starting at 7.30pm. Non-members are welcome to attend by purchasing ‘temporary membership’ for four pounds (three pounds concessions). Please note that the event is at The Atrium and not at the regular LPS venue on Queen’s Road, as incorrectly listed on the Leicester City Council website.