BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

The poetics of practical reason: Joseph Raz and Philip Larkin

Gearey, Adam (2007) The poetics of practical reason: Joseph Raz and Philip Larkin. Law and Literature 19 (3), pp. 377-400. ISSN 1535-685X.

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:


This article is an exercise in poetic jurisprudence. It argues that Joseph Raz's political and moral philosophy and Philip Larkin's poetry can be understood as ways of becoming "less deceived" about the nature of social life. However, Larkin's poetry also reckons the costs of practical reason. Rather than being encouraged towards moral perfectionism, the less deceived are left with the sense of life exhausting itself and the terrible fear of death. What if reason cannot provide comfort? If the old rituals of religion are no longer sufficient, how does practical reason help us to celebrate and endure? Might there be a different thinking of human solidarity in Larkin? This takes us towards a reading of the most intriguing line from the poem "An Arundel Tomb": "what will survive of us is love." Description from publisher website at:

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): law, reason, Raz, Larkin, love,
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Law
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2009 17:47
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:16

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item