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More of Larkin's Jazz

Course Times & Enrolment

Tuesdays from 14th January 2020 (Code MU132-203) Tuesdays from
14th January 2020 11:10am - 1:00pm • (10 classes)
G30 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Dick Lee B Mus
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Between 1961and 1971 the celebrated poet and jazz lover Philip Larkin wrote a monthly column of critical evaluations of jazz recordings. Each illustrated talk is based on a different column, one from each year, with both the actual recordings and live examples played by Dick.

This follows on from last year’s very successful Larkin’s Jazz* course; with 12 columns from each year to choose from, there is a wealth of source material.

*Not a prerequisite.

Course Details

Content of Course

1. October 1963: Snail Race Voluntary


2. February 1967: Credo


3. December 1965: A Far From Indifferent Guy


4. November 1961: Looking Back At Louis


5. December 1961: Horn In A Dilemma


6. June 1971: Voices As Instruments


7. July 1970: Looking Back At Lyttleton


8. September 1967: My First Name is James


9. June 1962: Up From The South


10. December 1969: Just Around The Corner

Teaching method(s)

Seminar discussion with video and audio excerpts.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Differentiate between objective and subjective musical criticism.
  • Identify and assimilate illuminating insights.
  • Identify and take with a pinch of salt the personal opinions and prejudices of the critic.
  • Appreciate how mastery of language can be put at the service of music.
  • Appreciate a wide range of styles of jazz.


Transferable skills

  • Appreciation of criticism
  • Appreciation of all art forms
  • Criticism of criticism


Core Readings


Jazz Writings, Philip Larkin, pub. Continuum 1999, 2001, 2004

All What Jazz, Philip Larkin, pub. Faber and Faber 1970, 1985 (out of print but findable on Amazon etc.)



Jazz Anecdotes, Bill Crow, OUP 1990

Web Sources


Class Handouts

HTML pages of links sent by email after every session


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.