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Letters from Philip Larkin to Monica Jones


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The collection comprises Dated correspondence arranged chronologically, mainly letters and postcards, some enclosing photographs and/or cuttings, sent between 1946 and 1984; Undated correspondence, including postcards, notelets, letters, gift tags, annotated cuttings, photographs and other enclosures; Undated greetings cards for various occasions, many sent as if from rabbits and other animals; Severely damaged items, mainly letters, postcards and greetings cards; Miscellaneous items of Monica Jones's, including letters and postcards from Jones to Larkin, cuttings etc. probably sent by or relating to Larkin, personal and official correspondences and ephemera; Photographs, mostly taken by Larkin, but also including photographs of him.


  • Creation: 1946-1984


5.72 Linear metres (52 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Use

Note that a box of damaged items [MS. Eng. c. 7447] is restricted and photocopies are issued in its place.

Photocopies of original photographs are issued in the first instance.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 7403, fols. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. b. 2148; c. 7403-7448, c. 7553-7555, MS. Photogr. c. 459

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 6097


Letters from Philip Larkin, poet and librarian, to Monica Jones, teacher and academic, sent between 1946 and 1984.

Biographical / Historical

For Philip Larkin, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. See also Andrew Motion, Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life, (London, 1993).

Margaret Monica Beale Jones, teacher and academic, was born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire 7 May 1922, and died in Hull, Yorkshire 15 February 2001. Jones, to whom Larkin dedicated The Less Deceived in 1955, was perhaps that poet’s most enduring and influential companion.

After attending the girls' high school at Kidderminster, Jones won a scholarship to read English at St Hugh's College, Oxford. After a short time as a schoolteacher she moved to Leicester in 1946 to take up an assistant lectureship at the University College of Leicester (later Leicester University) which she held until 1981.

It was here that Jones met Larkin when in 1946 he took up a position in the college’s library. From 1950, when Larkin left Leicester to take up an appointment at the Queen’s University Library, until 1973, when both Jones and Larkin apparently acquired telephones, the pair maintained a regular correspondence. Upon leaving her position at Leicester in 1981 Jones moved into Larkin’s house in Hull, where she lived until her death in 2001.

The relationship between Larkin and Jones is described in Andrew Motion's 1993 biography of Larkin. Fictional representations of Jones appear in Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim (Margaret Peel), and Eating People Is Wrong (Viola Masefield) by Malcolm Bradbury, a former student.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired via Bernard Quaritch in 2006, with the support of K. Grahame Fund, V&A Purchase Fund, Friends of the National Libraries, St John's College, All Souls College, and Friends of the Bodleian.

Related Materials

Additional letters, postcards and cards sent by Philip Larkin to Monica Jones, with three photographs can be found at MS. 22131

Catalogue of letters from Philip Larkin to Monica Jones, 1946-1984
Kate Longworth, Judith Priestman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom