Usually quite boring, lists can be useful for ordering information when that information is quite diffuse. Er, yes, well...
anyway, the Times have come up with a list of interest to me, mainly because this site's favourite poet, Philip Larkin, is placed at number one in their rankings of finest British postwar writers.
It's quite surprising- I thought I was quite unusual for placing him there but I think that he's one of these characters whose persona was so miserable people want to posthumously recognise him as a kind of exculpation of neglect. It helps that he happens to be transparently good.
What's so good about Larkin? David Baddiel writes a nice account.
Looking at the list, I am struck by its thinness- I feel that Ted Hughes at number four must be there to save the blushes of those of us who had to spend months, years, nay, decades, aeons, perusing his hamfisted countryside ramblings. Nice for kids... ah- but actually not, since his worldview is much more darwinian-dark than Larkin's ever was. Then there are the novelists, and with William Golding at number three one feels something like despair. And that's where Larking comes in, as quoted by Baddiel:
"If I seem good it’s because everyone else is so bad. Well, almost everyone. Well, anyway ..."
well, exactly Philip.