A Fine Anecdote

You remember Tennyson reading an unpublished poem to Jowett; when he had finished, Jowett said, I shouldn’t publish that if I were you, Tennyson. Tennyson replied, If it comes to that, Master, the sherry you gave us at lunch was downright filthy.

As told by Philip Larkin in his Paris Review interview.

I also recommend Larkin’s “Who is Jorge Luis Borges?”

And I suppose this, also:

I suppose everyone has his own dream of America. A writer once said to me, If you ever go to America, go either to the East Coast or the West Coast; the rest is a desert full of bigots. That’s what I think I’d like: where if you help a girl trim the Christmas tree you’re regarded as engaged; and her brothers start oiling their shotguns if you don’t call on the minister. A version of pastoral.

The bit about Charlie Parker, the quinine martini and the enema might also be worth mentioning. The Littlest Englander of them all.

2 thoughts on “A Fine Anecdote

  1. interesting post; Larkin’s interview amusing–surprising that the interviewer didn’t follow up the Borges comment.

  2. Probably because he knew that it was a bit of performance—I can’t imagine that Larkin really didn’t know who Borges was, being a fellow librarian and all.

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