Show Less

Geoffrey Hill and his Contexts


Edited By Piers Pennington and Matthew Sperling

Geoffrey Hill is one of the most significant poets currently at work in the English language. The essays gathered in this book present a number of new contexts in which to explore a wide range of his writings, from the poems he wrote as an undergraduate to the recent volumes A Treatise of Civil Power (2007) and Collected Critical Writings (2008). Connections are made between the early and the later poetry, and between the poetry and the criticism, and archival materials are considered along with the published texts. The essays also make comparisons across disciplines, discussing Hill’s work in relation to theology, philosophy and intellectual history, to literature from other languages, and to the other arts. In doing so, they cast fresh light upon Hill’s dense, original and sometimes challenging writings, opening them up in new ways for all readers of his work.


Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Hugh Haughton - ‘Music’s Invocation’: Music and History in Geoffrey Hill 187


hugh haughton ‘Music’s Invocation’: Music and History in Geof frey Hill 1 Geof frey Hill’s work gives evidence of a passionate investment in music. As a poet, he is the composer of a requiem (‘Requiem for the Plantagenet Kings’), a book of songs (‘The Songbook of Sebastian Arruruz’), two ‘Chorale-Preludes’, and a sequence entitled ‘Funeral Music’. He has writ- ten several poems with the titles of musical pieces, including, in Tenebrae, ‘The Herefordshire Carol’ and ‘Lachrimae: or Seven tears figured in seven passionate Pavans’ (after John Dowland). More recently he has published Scenes from Comus, which takes its title from Hugh Wood’s 1965 composi- tion, and, in A Treatise of Civil Power, ‘G. F. Handel, Opus 6’ and ‘Johannes Brahms, Opus 2’. Such titles echo and mirror those of musical composi- tions, insisting on poems as responses to and analogues of music. His later poems and essays are also shot through with musical terms. Words shared between musicology and poetics foreground the relationship of poetry to musical form, and play a significant part both in poems and the intricate commentaries on poetry in his essays, many of which turn on questions of ‘voice’, ‘pitch’, and ‘cadence’. Cumulatively, such words confirm an allusive undertow to the fraught structural analogy between poems and musical compositions. Like poetry, music turns on performance, and Hill’s poems are replete with references to musical as well as oratorical performance. Many poems invoke specific instruments such as viols and violins, trum- pets and drums, while others name...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.