waste: This be close reading

This line, which begins Larkin’s poem, “This Be the Verse”, so forcefully, has long been a puzzlement to scholars, who have debated amongst themselves since its publication what the meaning of “fuck you up” might be.  I believe that the key to understanding the line, which recapitulated and varied in the other quatrains (thus giving the poem the structure of a partially-deranged sonata), lies in the preposition, “up”.

This is why Textual Analysis should be banned.


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