Larkin about with Hardy

129 TUTOR: Fleur Lloyd

Thomas Hardy and Philip Larkin, two of the best-loved poets in English literature, complement each other beautifully. For many years, revered as a novelist only, Hardy's poetry is now highly regarded. His present reputation owes much to Larkin's advocacy. Both writers were melancholic, even misogynistic and yet produced some of the most heart-stopping love poetry of all time. They were both extremely prolific, which makes selecting an anthology difficult. However, you will study the two poets' verses on relationships, nature, war, loss, religious suffering, death and everything in between.

1 AM
AM course

Course Notes


I cannot imagine two poets with whom I would like to spend more time and I believe by the end of the week you will feel the same.

Philip Larkin is one of the best known and loved of modern British poets although this was something of which he was totally unaware and thought his legacy would be for his appreciation and critique of Jazz. He even modestly turned down the opportunity to be Poet Laureate. We shall be exploring how his poetry was influenced by the work of Thomas Hardy, a prolific, lyrical poet of inestimable worth though possibly more famed for his novels.

No previous knowledge of either's work is necessary, but we also welcome those who know the poets well and who will enjoy contributing to the readings and discussion since I strive to ensure the sessions are completely interactive.

Over the years, students have enjoyed coming to the literary classes without any preconceptions and have appreciated the element of surprise, not least at finding relevant influences and allusions. During this course, you may even discover how the two voices are almost indeterminable. In addition to studying the poems autobiographical details and letters, we will even listen to some jazz that inspired Larkin. There is no need to bring any of the collections of either poet as I shall be providing each guest with a carefully selected anthology reflecting my own favourites, as well as how the two poets converge and complement each other. However, if you would like to do some advance reading, we will be looking at the following, amongst others: -

Thomas Hardy

Philip Larkin

A Wife in London

Love Songs in Age

Neutral Tones

An Arundel Tomb

The Darkling Thrush

Sad Steps

The Self Unseeing

Church Going

The Walk

Faith Healer

The Voice


At Castle Boterel

Annus Mirabilis




NB: the tutor reserves the right to change her mind about the individual poems.

You are welcome to bring along a poem with which you are already familiar and that you would like to share with others, or simply one that has stumped you in the past and together we will try to unravel it.


Course Tutor

Fleur Lloyd

About Fleur

Fleur Lloyd tutor, has worked for The Old Vic, The National Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe as well as teaching both literature, drama and creative writing in schools, colleges and universities. She has taught at Marlborough Summer School for 15 years.

Gift vouchers

Request a brochure

Summer School Entertainment 2022


Meet the Tutor: Dr Susan Brockman

This summer, Dr Susan Brockman will travel all the way from New York to join our...

More News

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM