Booth, James 1945–

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BOOTH, James 1945–

PERSONAL: Born April 6, 1945, in Birmingham, England; son of James (a factory worker) and Rhoda (a factory worker; maiden name, Black) Booth; married Jennifer Ann Foreman (a schoolteacher), December 7, 1974; children: Hilda Ann Foreman, Eleanor Jane Foreman. Education: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1966, B.Litt., 1968. Politics: "Extreme left liberal to liberal." Religion: "Aggressive atheist."

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, University of Hull, Cottingham Rd., Hull, North Humberside HU6 7RX, England.

CAREER: Lecturer at University of Hull, Hull, England, 1968–.

MEMBER: European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, Association for Teachers of Caribbean, African, Asian, and Associated Literatures, British Numismatic Society, Philip Larkin Society (secretary).


Writers and Politics in Nigeria, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1981.

Philip Larkin: Writer, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor) New Larkins for Old: Critical Essays, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(Editor) "Trouble at Will Gables" and Other Fictions by Philip Larkin, Faber (London, England), 2002.

Contributor of articles to literary and numismatic journals. Editor of Philip Larkin Society newsletter About Larkin.


SIDELIGHTS: English professor James Booth is a specialist in the work and life of Philip Larkin, English poet, librarian, and jazz critic. In the first of his three studies, Philip Larkin: Writer, Booth uses newly found biographical material to re-evaluate Larkin's life and work. Then, in the view of World Literature Today contributor Janice Rossen, Booth "offers stellar readings of the novels and poetry." Times Literary Supplement critic Glyn Maxwell also praised the work, calling it a "good book about Larkin, because Booth has, as he says of his subject, remained 'true to the diversity of his experience [and has not strained] to impose a consistent pattern on it.'" So too, Rossen concluded that Philip Larkin is "well worth reading." Comparing Booth's Philip Larkin to other scholarly works on the subject by Anthony Thwaite and Andrew Motion, Contemporary Literature reviewer Neil Covey predicted that "Booth's will be most useful to the Larkin scholar."

Published in 1999, New Larkins for Old: Critical Essays contains fifteen essays originally delivered as papers by various scholars at events arranged by the Philip Larkin Society, of which Booth is secretary and newsletter editor. "As might be expected, therefore," commented Peter Hollindale in Review of English Studies, "they are the work of committed and largely sympathetic specialists, but in no sense of uncritical devotees." The scholars probe a number of different aspects of Larkin's work, "but the underlying note of New Larkins for Old, is one of stimulating critical pluralism," wrote David G. Williams in Modern Language Review, "and the book adds significantly to the ongoing re-examination of Larkin's work." Hollindale concluded, "Many essays in this book should stimulate rewarding further work on Larkin."



Contemporary Literature, fall, 1994, Neil Covey, "The New Larkin and His Proper Ground," review of Philip Larkin: Writer, pp. 567-577.

Daily Telegraph (London, England), May 11, 2002, Christopher Hart, "The Spinster Within," review of "Trouble at Will Gables" and Other Fictions by Philip Larkin.

English Studies, December, 1993, Paul Dean, review of Philip Larkin, pp. 557-558.

Guardian (London, England), May 11, 2002, review of "Trouble at Will Gables" and Other Fictions by Philip Larkin, p. 8.

London Review of Books, March 25, 1993, review of Philip Larkin, p. 10.

Modern Language Review, January, 2001, David G. Williams, review of New Larkins for Old: Critical Essays, pp. 173-174.

Review of English Studies, November, 2000, Peter Hollindale, review of New Larkins for Old, pp. 682-684.

Sunday Telegraph (London, England), April 28, 2002, Jonathan Bate, "Very Juvenile, This Juvenilia," review of "Trouble at Will Gables" and Other Fictions by Philip Larkin.

Sunday Times (London, England), May 5, 2002, John Carey, "Larkin's Female Alter-Ego" review of "Trouble at Will Gables" and Other Fictions by Philip Larkin, p. 38.

Times Literary Supplement, January 29, 1993, Glyn Maxwell, "The Amber Round the Poem," review of Philip Larkin, pp. 9-10; October 5, 2001, review of New Larkins for Old, p. 27; May 17, 2002, Alan Brownjohn, "An Unfulfilled Fantasy," p. 25.

World Literature Today, spring, 1982; fall, 1992, Janice Rossen, review of Philip Larkin, p. 724.

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Booth, James 1945–

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