Themes for Larkin and Abse

What the title says.

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  • Created by: Nabobby
  • Created on: 08-05-12 21:44

Themes for Larkin and Abse - Place and Community

Larkin: 

  • Here
  • Naturally the Foundations will Bear Your Expenses
  • The Whitsun Weddings
  • MCMXIV

Abse:

  • Down the M4
  • Return to Cardiff
  • A Letter from Ogmore

Abse's feelings for his native South Wales are, arguably, stronger and less ambivalent (mixed feelings) then Larkin's for his adopted Hull, though perhaps, in this case, we should extend the range to England more generally. To a great extent, all of the poem in the Welsh Retrospective selection reflect Abse's sense of belonging in and to wales and his attachment to it's history and culture. There are some, however, which celebrate place and community in specific terms.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse- Seperateness

Larkin:

  • Here
  • Mr Bleaney
  • The Whitsun Weddings
  • The importance of Elswhere
  • Dockery and Son

Abse:

  • Down the M4
  • Red Ballon
  •  Case History

As mentioned above, Abse's jewish background was always an important part of his identity, alongside the Welsh dimension. There are poems in the collection which highlight a certain sense of being seperate from his own society. Where Larkin expresses a comparable sentiment, it is based upon more personal, temperamental difference, rather than ethnicity, though this allows him the take the role of detached observer in some of his best poems.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: Young Love

Larkin:

  • Wild Oats
  • Afternoons

Abse:

  • Blonde Boys
  • St Valentine's Night

A couple of poems in Abse's selection capture the heady excitement of being in love for the first time, making an interesting comparison with two of Larkin's pieces which, in different ways, touch on the topic.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: Mature Love

Larkin: 

  • Love Songs in Age
  • Self's the Man
  • Talking in Bed
  • An Arundel Tomb

Abse:

  • Postcard to his wife
  • A Scene from Married Life
  • The Malham Bird

Abse's long marriage stands in contrast to Larkin's complicated personal life. Whilst the former captures the intimacy of married love, he is not afraid to admit ti it's more problematic aspects.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: Parents and Children

Larkin:

  • Home is so Sad
  • Dockery and Son
  • Reference Back
  • Afternoons

Abse:

  • Sons
  • Imitations

Abse is a parent and able to write from a father's perspective, as well as seeing reflections of his own past in him children.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: Conjuring up the Past

Larkin: 

  • Home is so Sad
  • MCMXIV
  • Dockery and Son
  • Reference Back

Abse: 

  • Two Photographs
  • Last Visit to 198 Cathedral Road
  • At Ogmore-by-sea this August Evening
  • On the Coast Road

Abse is often brought back to a contemplation of the past, often in quite compelling experiences in which a particular location or atmosphere evokes a memory in almost palpable (plainly seen) form.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: Escaping from Reality

Larkin:

  • A study of Reading Habits
  • Sunny Prestatyn
  • Essential Beauty

Abse:

  • Welsh Valley Cinema 1930's
  • A Figure of 8

Like the good poet he is, Abse recognises the attraction of alternatives to the daily realities of our lives through his presentation of this theme is notably more benign than that of Larkin.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: War and its Aftermath

Larkin: 

  • Naturally the Foundation will Bear Your Expenses
  • MCMXIV

Abse:

  • The Story of Lazarus
  • My Cousin, the Soldier
  • Terrible Angels

Abse clearly has much respect and admiration for those who fought in or were victims of war. His trio of poems on the theme of war focus on the consequences of those involved.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: The Religious Dimensio

Larkin: 

  • Faith Healing
  • Water

Abse: 

  • Uncle Isidore
  • Quests
  • Iolo Morganwg

Though Abse is not a religious person in the conventional sense, his work shows an interet in the transcendent, including its bogus versions.

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Themes for Larkin and Abse: Death and Dying

Larkin: 

  • Nothing to be Said
  • Ambulances
  • Ignorance

Abse:

  • In Llandough Hospital
  • A Winter Visit

Decades of service as a doctor and his being a member of a large extended family have both provided Abse with direct experiences of being with the dying.

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Comments

AmyVat

Brilliant! Really needed this!

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