Letter: Wined and rhymed

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The Independent Online
Sir: A delightful gremlin crept into Peter Gutteridge's excellent feature on the election for Oxford Professor of Poetry ('A party poetical broadcast', 11 May). The late Philip Larkin, queueing up to vote, quoted Dickens' Pickwick Papers not to say the Oxford election resembled an 'Eton Swell' occasion, but an 'Eatanswill event' - referring to the borough in the novel where there was riotous wining and dining of voters before the hustings. Philip Larkin spoke with comic exaggeration, naturally.

'Eton Swell'? He and I came from faraway grammar schools, like most of the MAs, I suspect, in the Oxford queue. Philip, incidentally, indicated that day that he was not going to be influenced by any wining and dining of him.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW3

11 May