By Geoffrey Hill
Publish yr note: First released in 2008
The accumulated severe Writings gathers greater than 40 years of Hill's released feedback, in a revised ultimate shape, and likewise provides a lot new paintings. it's going to function the canonical quantity of feedback via Hill, the pre-eminent poet-critic whom A. N. Wilson has known as "probably the simplest author alive, in verse or in prose."
In his feedback Hill levels broadly, investigating either poets (including Jonson, Dryden, Hopkins, Whitman, Eliot, and Yeats ) and prose writers (such as Tyndale, Clarendon, Hobbes, Burton, Emerson, and F. H. Bradley). he's additionally steeped within the historic context - political, poetic, and spiritual - of the writers he stories. most significantly, he brings texts and contexts into new and telling family members, neither lowering texts to the conditions in their utterance nor imagining that they could flow freed from them.
A variety of the essays have already tested themselves as crucial interpreting on specific matters, similar to his research of Vaughan's "The Night," his dialogue of Gurney's poetry, and his serious account of The Oxford English Dictionary. Others confront the issues of language and the character of price without delay, as in "Our be aware is Our Bond," "Language, soreness, and Value," and "Poetry and Value." In all his feedback, Hill finds literature to be an important area of civic intelligence.
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Additional info for Collected Critical Writings: Geoffrey Hill
Christe was . . ’ ‘Excessus’ signiWes ‘ecstasy’. The word was so used by St Bernard, the author closest perhaps to Southwell’s heart, whose works he cited in An Epistle of Comfort; which were also his ‘solace’ during his imprisonment in the Tower. We may seem here to have returned to that the absolute reasonableness of robert southwell 39 suggestion with which we began, that Southwell, in ‘The Burning Babe’, appears to have ‘lost himself in ecstatic delight’. The circle is not quite closed, however.
I would further suggest that the radical pun perceivable in ‘ecstasy’, in being ‘beside oneself ’, either with a frenzy of egoistic inclinations or with a disciplined indiVerence to them, would not be lost on him. When he was brought out to endure ‘the torments of a shameful death’ Southwell could speak, with perfect calm and tact, in the idiom of his own Epistle of Comfort: ‘I am come hither to play out the last act of this poor life’. Even at that moment he could retain his grasp on ‘complexity’ and yet speak with absolute simplicity.
Strictly interpreted, this means the radical change in ‘mens maners’ engendered by the blood of martyrs. Figuratively applied, it could be said to describe a crucial ‘turn’ which is a feature of his style: And this is that which Saint Paule sayd: Reformabit corpus humilitatis nostrae, conWguratum corpori claritatis suae: He shall reforme the body of our humility confygured vnto the bodye of his brightnesse. Whiche phrase of speache argueth, that the more the body for him is humbled in torments, the more shall yt be partaker of hys brightnesse in glorye.