«The duty of the present is neither to copy nor to deny the past but to resurrect it», wrote W.H. Auden in 1948. The European voices that William B. Yeats and Sir Geoffrey Hill choose to resurrect reflect their shared hope in the future of humanity, as the essays in this book demonstrate. From Greek and Roman voices, through the Italian Renaissance and into our troubled present, these poets use myth, as Auden suggested, «to make private experiences public» and «public events personal». They write about the past to maintain continuity and provide the transmission of cultural values or to avoid the repetition of atrocities. As visionary poets, their talents at reviving the poetic voice captivate and inspire. The essays in this volume elucidate both their poetic vision and resistance.
The chapters in this book derive from an international conference on Yeats and Hill that took place at the Institut Catholique de Paris in 2013. They are preceded by abstracts and a general introduction in French.