The Collected Critical Writings gathers more than forty years of Hill's published criticism, in a revised final form, and also adds much new work. It will serve as the canonical volume of criticism by Hill, the pre-eminent poet-critic whom A. N. Wilson has called 'probably the best writer alive, in verse or in prose'. In his criticism Hill ranges widely, investigating both poets (including Jonson, Dryden, Hopkins, Whitman, Eliot, and Yeats ) and prose writers (such as Tyndale, Clarendon, Hobbes, Burton, Emerson, and F. H. Bradley). He is also steeped in the historical context - political, poetic, and religious - of the writers he studies. Most importantly, he brings texts and contexts into new and telling relations, neither reducing texts to the circumstances of their utterance nor imagining that they can float free of them. A number of the essays have already established themselves as essential reading on particular subjects, such as his analysis of Vaughan's 'The Night', his discussion of Gurney's poetry, and his critical account of The Oxford English Dictionary.Others confront the problems of language and the nature of value directly, as in 'Our Word is Our Bond', 'Language, Suffering, and Value', and 'Poetry and Value'.
In all his criticism, Hill reveals literature to be an essential arena of civic intelligence.
Table of Contents
LORDS OF LIMIT; 1. Poetry as 'Menace' and 'Atonement'; 2. The Absolute Reasonableness of Robert Southwell; 3. 'The World's Proportion': Jonson's Dramatic Poetry in Sejanus and Catiline; 4. 'The True Conduct of Human Judgment': Some Observations on Cymbeline; 5. Jonathan Swift: The Poetry of 'Reaction'; 6. Redeeming the Time; 7. 'Perplexed Persistence': The Exemplary Failure of T. H. Green; 8. What Devil Has Got Into John Ransom?; 9. Our Word Is Our Bond; THE ENEMY'S COUNTRY; 10. Unhappy Circumstances; 11. The Tartar's Bow and the Bow of Ulysses; 12. Caveats Enough in their Own Walks; 13. Dryden's Prize-Song; 14. 'Envoi (1919)'; STYLE AND FAITH; 15. Common Weal, Common Woe; 16. Of Diligence and Jeopardy; 17. Keeping to the Middle Way; 18. A Pharisee to Pharisees; 19. The Eloquence of Sober Truth; 20. The Weight of the Word; 21. Dividing Legacies; INVENTIONS OF VALUE; 22. Translating Value: Marginal Observations on a Central Question; 23. Language, Suffering, and Silence; 24. Tacit Pledges; 25. Gurney's 'Hobby'; 26. Isaac Rosenberg, 1890-1918; 27. Rhetorics of Value and Intrinsic Value; 28. Poetry and Value; ALIENATED MAJESTY; 29. Alienated Majesty: Ralph W. Emerson; 30. Alienated Majesty: Walt Whitman; 31. Alienated Majesty: Gerard M. Hopkins; 32. Word Value in F. H. Bradley and T. S. Eliot; 33. Eros in F. H. Bradley and T. S. Eliot; 34. A Postscript on Modernist Poetics; EDITORIAL NOTE; NOTES
Winner of Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism 2009.
Born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire in 1932, Geoffrey Hill is the author of a dozen books of poetry. From 1988 to 2006 he taught as a University Professor and Professor of Literature and Religion at Boston University. He is also Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford; Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently lives in Cambridge, England.