A Record Diary

Philip Larkin - Poetry, Politics, Love and Jazz - Ian Smith

Ian Smith [+-]
Writer, Broadcaster and Musician
Ian Smith has lectured on literature, film and cultural theory at the Universities of Oxford, Boston, Warwick, London, and Kingston. He has also worked as a professional jazz musician for many years. This musical work includes composing and performing settings of Larkin poems for BBC Radio 3; settings that formed part of the stage show “Larkin’s Jazz”, presented at UK literary and jazz festivals. He has published and broadcast regularly on literature, jazz, and cultural politics.His play, Blood Count, exploring the complex relationship and creative partnership of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2015 and 2016. His study of Harold Pinter, Pinter in the Theatre, is published by Nick Hern books (2005).


An account of Larkin’s jazz writing in his adult years. The chapter examines Larkin’s jazz criticism in context: what brought it about? How did it differ from the selective version given by Larkin in All What Jazz? An interesting parallel is between Larkin’s jazz reviews and those of Eric Hobsbawm; a point of comparison that extends into the British culture wars of the postwar years. Larkin’s own subtitle for All What Jazz was “a record diary”. In the biographical study of any writer, it often becomes clear that critical writing is inseparable from autobiographical reflection and self-scrutiny, both personal and creative.

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Smith, Ian. A Record Diary. Philip Larkin - Poetry, Politics, Love and Jazz. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2022. ISBN 9781781798102. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=36500. Date accessed: 19 Sep 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36500. Mar 2022

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