"I am not a natural traveler: a place has to be pretty intolerable before it enters my head that somewhere else might be nicer" (qtd. in Chambers 48), wrote Philip Larkin in 1959 with the comic grouchiness which his friends had come to expect in his letters to them and which the public had begun to sense in The Less Deceived (1955) and would see more distinctly in The Whitsun Weddings (1964) and most of all in High Windows (1974). Larkin in his letters would always produce a grand display of irritation towards any journey for the disruption that it would cause to his routine and his writing, and, as years went by and his fame grew, he increasingly took to portraying himself as an intransigent homebound recluse ("I wouldn't mind seeing China if I could come back the same day. … Generally speaking, the further one gets from home the greater the misery" (RW 55), a persona which in later years was to spread into the more reactionary views for which he has recently become notorious.



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