None of this is to say our friendship was ever completely rounded. For one thing, I soon discovered that, to an unusual degree, Larkin divided his life into discrete compartments: Hull friends; London friends, including Kingsley Amis, his closest male friend since university, who never came to Hull in all the thirty years that Larkin lived there; and Oxford friends, most of them made or confirmed during his time at All Souls, where he was appointed a visiting fellow during the early nineteen-seventies, while working on his “Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse.” Further separations existed in his love life—chiefly between Monica and Maeve Brennan, a colleague in Larkin’s library who was also a girlfriend. Betty Mackereth, the “loaf-haired secretary” in the library with whom he also had an affair, was considered by Monica to be less of a threat: she later told me that she was worried Larkin might marry Maeve, but she knew he wouldn’t marry Betty.
Monday, October 02, 2017
… Philip Larkin and Me: A Friendship with Holes in It | The New Yorker. (Ht tip, Dave Lull.)