Money, 'Money, 'Money': Cultural Transactions between Philip Larkin and Martin Amis

Peter Marks

Abstract


This article uses Philip Larkin’s poem ‘Money’ and Martin Amis’s novel ‘Money’ to link and distinguish the authors and their work through the topic of money itself. Noting significant personal connections between the two writers, primarily through Kingsley Amis, it argues that Larkin’s treatment of money in his poem reflects a pinched, nostalgic and personalised take on a world whose power relationships and values are being overhauled or discarded, while Amis’s novel charts the cultural upheaval activated by the exuberance of an unashamedly amoral neo-liberalism. More generally, the article takes Larkin and Amis as emblematic of broader social changes in the second half of the twentieth century in Britain: from post-war austerity to post-modern profligacy, and from an insular Englishness to a perspective that explores and in many ways celebrates transatlantic relationships and gestures to the wider world beyond.

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