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Geoffrey Hill and the “unwitting travesty of the ‘authentic self.'”

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Poetry Marathon 2009: Geoffrey Hill

For permissions please e-mail: journals. Issue Section:. You do not currently have access to this article. Download all figures. Sign in. You could not be signed in. Sign In Forgot password? A great deal of the work of the last forty years seems to me to spring from inadequate knowledge and self-knowledge, a naive trust in the unchallengeable authority of the authentic self.

But I no longer think that the answer to this lies in the suppression of self; it requires a degree of self-knowledge and self-criticism, which is finally semantic rather than philosophical.

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The instrument of expression and the instrument of self-knowledge and self-correction is the same. There is a kind of poetry—I think that the seventeenth-century English metaphysicals are the greatest example of this, Donne , Herbert, Vaughan —in which the language seems able to hover above itself in a kind of brooding, contemplative, self-rectifying way.

The rest of us, even the very best of us, possess it to a lesser and differing degree, but I cannot conceive poetry of any enduring significance being brought into being without some sense of this double quality that language has when it is taken into the sensuous intelligence, and brought into formal life.

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In a sense God renounces being everything. We should renounce being something. That is our only good.


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  8. I wish to thank Professor Gallet for his indispensable insight and help. Botalla et al. Emma Crawford, London: Routledge Classics, [] Cf Karl Rahner, S.

    This work is hereafter referred to as CCW. Richard, op. For Christ as King, see his dialogue with Pilate, in John 18, Botalla, G.

    Geoffrey Hill and his contexts - CentAUR

    Marucci eds. Weil, Gravity and Grace , transl. Emma Crawford, London: Routledge Classics, [],