Philip Larkin’s Myxomatosis and the Problem of Empathy
AbstractPhilip Larkin's well-known poem Myxomatosis records the poet's disturbing encounter with a rabbit dying of a disfiguring viral illness introduced into the wild as a measure of pest control. The poet's response to this experience reveals the complex nature of empathy, which has been described in the psychological literature as eliciting behavior far removed from the tenderness we associate with sympathy and the ministrations of medical professionals.
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