An Arundel Tomb Summary & Analysis by Philip Larkin

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"An Arundel Tomb" was written in 1956 by the British poet Philip Larkin. It was included as the final poem in his 1964 collection, The Whitsun Weddings, and is also one of his best known works. In the poem, the speaker is looking at stone effigies of a medieval earl and countess. Surprised to see that they are depicted holding hands, the speaker sets off a complex meditation about the nature of time, mortality, and love. The tomb of the title refers to a real monument found in the Chichester Cathedral, which Larkin visited with his longtime lover Monica Jones before writing the poem. The poem is also essentially an example of ekphrasis—writing that focuses on a visual object or work of art.

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