Existentialism In Larkin's Poetry

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When The English poet Philip Arthur Larkin started writing in the 1940s,
Humanism was being questioned and Existentialism emerged and laid claim to the humanist heritage. In his poetry, Larkin deals with universal issues and others in relation with everyday life in modern British society. The dichotomy of ‘expectation-experience’ and its corollary ‘dream-deception’ pervade in his poems. Many critics call his poetry a bleak attitude towards life. John Osborne, one of the most famous British playwrights of the 1950s, a critic, and a secretary of the Philip Larkin Society, in an article dealing with Existentialism in Larkin‘s poetry, concludes that Larkin’s use of existentialist tenets in his poems is intended to dismantle this philosophy from
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The philosophy of Existentialism is used to describe the dilemma in the modern man’s life. It’s about the subjective decisions of the single individual; decisions about his own life and responsibilities that fall on him and the choices he makes in his life. Existentialism states that an individual is fully responsible for his each and every act. Though, he is free willed to make the choices but he himself is responsible for his decisions. It further signifies that an individual is free to do anything according to his/her will without obeying the conventional rules and morals. He has to create his own rules. Existentialism came to distinction in literature and philosophy of the 1940s and 1950s in Europe under the influence of the French philosopher and writer and a literary critic Jean Paul Sartre. He was one of the important figures in the philosophy of existentialism, and one of the leading figures in 20th century existentialism. The term existentialism was also coined by Sartre. And it was generally concerned with the concept of human existence. Everything is centered on the individual’s experience on earth and the limits that one has. Existentialists leave human beings free to make their own decisions and are completely responsible for their ramifications. They believe that people learn about themselves best from their experiences. The Existential movement opposes the traditional ways of thinking in contemporary philosophy. It lays emphasis on the individual experience and the formation of essence through the act of living. One of major principles in his book Existentialism and Human Emotions is that “existence precedes essence” (Sartre 15). For the existentialists, Man is “thrown” into a godless universe, but he realizes himself through his free will and actions. With this freedom comes responsibility
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