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Letters from Monica Jones to Philip Larkin


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MSS. Eng. c. 7133-7182 comprises c.2000 letters written by Monica Jones to Philip Larkin between 1946 and 1972. Many include illustrations and are annotated by Larkin (folios given in description, both recto and verso unless stated). Some letters were also annotated by Jones with shopping lists [i.e. whilst staying in Larkin's house].


  • Creation: 1946-1970s


7.5 Linear metres (50 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 7133, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. c. 7133-7181; MS. Eng. c. 7182 fols. 1-61, 72-78, 81-93; MS. Photogr. c. 185, fols. 94-97

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 17420


Letters from Monica Jones to Philip Larkin, 1946-1970s.

Biographical / Historical

After a long association with the Bodleian, which began when he was an undergraduate at St John's College, Oxford, and continued throughout his creative and professional life, Philip Larkin (1922-1985) bequeathed to the Library a series of letters from four of his most valued correspondents: Kingsley Amis, Robert Conquest, Barbara Pym, and Monica Jones.

A lecturer in English at Leicester, Jones (1922-2001) met Larkin in 1946 when he was appointed Assistant Librarian at the then University College. The letters begin formally and sporadically in 1946, but by 1950 when Larkin was appointed Librarian at Queen's University Belfast, Jones was writing almost daily - a practice she sustained throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the years in which Larkin was writing some of his best poetry. The letters tail off in the 1970s, when Jones and Larkin began to communicate more by telephone.

As an academic with a professional interest in literature, Jones was able to critique Larkin's work and to offer practical advice as well as encouragement. The overwhelming burden of these letters, however, is personal.

For full biographical histories, see Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequeathed to the Bodleian by Philip Larkin in 1985.

Related Materials

Bodleian Libraries

  1. MS. Eng. b. 2148; MSS. Eng. c. 7403-7448, 7553-7555; MS. Photogr. c. 459 - Letters from Philip Larkin to Monica Jones, 1946-1984
  2. MS. Eng. c. 2762 - Letters to Philip Larkin from Bruce and Ann Montgomery, 1943-1980
  3. MSS. Eng. c. 6044-6054 - Letters from Kingsley Amis to Philip Larkin, 1944-1985
  4. MS. Eng. c. 7182, fols. 62-71, 79-80; MSS. Eng. c. 7183-7186 - Greeting cards sent by Monica Jones to Philip Larkin, 1950s-1984
  5. MSS. Eng. c. 7449-7462; MS. Photogr. c. 185, fols. 79-88 - Correspondence of Philip Larkin and Judy Egerton, 1954-1985
  6. MSS. Eng. lett. c. 859-860 - Letters from Barbara Pym to Philip Larkin, 1961-1979
Catalogue of letters of Monica Jones to Philip Larkin, 1946-1970s
Finding aid prepared by Kate Longworth and Judith Priestman. Edited by Rachael Marsay.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom