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An Arundel Tomb

Philip Larkin

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An Arundel Tomb
Added by: Geordie Kidston
I think in Larkin that he begrudges beauty. Yet here, in the delicacy that encircles as much as tomb its subject, he allows the gentleness of love to infiltrate the piece throughout. Redemptive in his strained atheism, I think that here in his fullest expression, Larkin allows us to see the possibility of redemption and the acute and undeniable purpose of love.
Added by: Rwoan
I would disagree entirely. The point of the latin is not to underline beauty. In medival times it would have been the latin that would have told you about the couple and that was what they considered the most important. They inscribed it in latin to last for centuries since they believed that was the educated language and yet now it is a dead language and most of the visitors would not understand. Their love is a sweet commisioned grace a fancy by the sculptor. Aristocrats did not marry for love but for social position. Which is why in courtly romance of medival times the youth is always in love with a married lady he can not have.
The stone fidelity
They hardly meant
sums it up best. That love is all of us that will survive is actually a very bitter message. Since their love is simply that which is the imagined love imagined by the minds of the 'altered' tourists. So that in fact what will survive of us is just other peoples wishful thinking.
Added by: anonymous
Larkin describes a mediaeval tomb, of an earl and a countess who are modelled in stone, lying side by side. The pose is formal: the earl is wearing armour – but Larkin is struck by the fact that his left glove is off and he is holding his wife’s hand. The poet imagines the ‘stationary voyage’ of the tomb through the centuries. The mediaeval couple would have been amazed by changes in the hierarchical world they knew – people don’t wear armour, or read the Latin inscription. Modern viewers just notice the apparent gesture of intimacy, which the couple may not have intended. But Larkin derives from this a general truth: ‘what will survive of us is love’.

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