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Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress


Poetry and seduction
Diana Athill Writer
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I knew pretty all the poems, of course, in the Oxford Book of English Verse, and things. And the ones I liked were the love poems, always. And, 'Had we but world enough and time'… I liked them really better than any of the modern poetry I knew, but I did… I remember I did love Stephen Spender's poems, which were very easy to understand, and which did sort of express things that worried me. I mean, 'We who live under the shadow of a war', one of them said. And anyway, it was about things that one was worried about and which one understood.

Diana Athill (1917-2019) was a British literary editor whose publishing career began when she helped André Deutsch establish his company. She worked with many notable writers, namely Philip Roth, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Rhys and VS Naipaul. Following the publication of her memoirs, she came to be hailed as an author in her own right.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Oxford Book of English Verse, Stephen Spender

Duration: 41 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2008

Date story went live: 23 December 2008