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Podcast – Zachary Leader

On this month’s podcast, Zachary Leader discusses the Larkin-Amis friendship: “…deprivation and restriction powered a really violent, mocking satire. They made fun of all kinds of folly and vice, but did so with Juvenalian raillery and bite.”


Professor Zachary Leader is Professor of English Literature at the University of Roehampton. He grew up in California but has lived in Britain for over forty years. He was educated at Northwestern University, Trinity College, Cambridge and Harvard and is the author of several books including Reading Blake’s Songs, Writer’s Block, Revision and Romantic Authorship.

In 2000 Harper Collins published his edited Letters of Kingsley Amis followed by a highly regarded biography of Amis before he turned his attention to Saul Bellow, with the second part of acclaimed two-volume biography published in 2019. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Professor Leader’s work on Amis is filled with insights into the lifelong friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin and this is what we’ll be discussing today.

Kingsley Amis novels; Lucky Jim (1954), Take a Girl Like You (1960), The Anti-Death League (1966), The Alteration (1976), The Old Devils (1986)

Larkin poems: Church Going ( published 1954), Posterity (published 1976)
Kingsley Amis poem: Drinking Song (published in The New Statesman in 1978)
The Letters of Kingsley Amis, edited by Z. Leader, London: HarperCollins, 2000; New York: Talk/Miramax, 1208pp. (2001)
The Life of Kingsley Amis, Hardcover, New York: Random House, 1008 pp. (2006)
Presented by Lyn Lockwood and Julian Henry.
Theme music: ‘The Horns Of The Morning’ by The Mechanicals Band. Buy ‘The Righteous Jazz’ at their Bandcamp page:
Audio production by Simon Galloway.

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