...the poet's 'immoral' behaviour, which has prompted extensive criticism in recent years, was part of the same impulse towards subversion which guided Larkin's greatest works... Miller insists: "Once and for all, get it into your head that you cannot be a complete writer without being a complete cad."... "Caddishness" was, for Larkin, an affair not of license but restraint; it meant not giving away any of his freedom and independence to another person, especially a woman.
Larkin, he added, hated lawn mowing, a task for which he always wore his DH Lawrence T-shirt.
The whereabouts of that historic garment remain uncertain.
Worse, it is a metaphor. As a metaphor, it is unable to express modernism's catastrophic insight that the world is all metaphor. In its time, that insight gave us Finnegans Wake, and Saussure's linguistics, and the great palimpsest of The Waste Land. But it also gave us Ezra Pound's jaunty conclusion about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, "Certainly they are a forgery, and that is the one proof we have of their authenticity"... When Ferdinand de Saussure discovered that words have meaning only in relation to other words, he both opened a new linguistic territory and introduced it to the serpent...
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