Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Defending PoetryArt and Ethics in Joseph Brodsky, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David-Antoine Williams

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583546

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583546.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 November 2019

Geoffrey Hill: A ‘Question of Value’

Geoffrey Hill: A ‘Question of Value’

Chapter:
(p.159) 4 Geoffrey Hill: A ‘Question of Value’
Source:
Defending Poetry
Author(s):

David‐Antoine Williams (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583546.003.0004

This chapter investigates Geoffrey Hill's abiding concern with the equation of semantic and ethical recognition, his experience of language as an arena in which our ethical being is both menaced and succoured, though perhaps not secured. Hill's cogitations on this problem accompany a career‐long exploration of the question of intrinsic value, a concept which he admits has gone out of fashion but which he nonetheless attempts to rescue for his theory of language. Hill's ethics of responsibility requires that literature memorialize and memorize the dead, but his scepticism about the ability of language to do justice to its subjects forces him into a paradoxical contemplation of silence as the only responsible speech. Even so, the question of value has increasingly been posed by Hill in its public dimension, as embodying the union of civic (including political), theological (including metaphysical), and grammatical (including etymological) thought. One way Hill thinks the writer can realize intrinsic value is in the assiduous plying of words, the working in poetry of their etymology, grammar, and syntax into a high semantic pitch; this chapter pays special attention to the words that have meant the most to Hill: ‘value’, ‘atonement’, ‘endurance’, ‘patience’, ‘attention’, ‘justice’, ‘grace’, ‘pitch’, ‘common’, and ‘alienation’.

Keywords:   Hill, Hopkins, Whitman, Eliot, intrinsic value, original sin, atonement, difficulty, responsibility, endurance, alienation, silence, suffering, memory, memorial, etymology, pitch, Holocaust, Steiner, Ricoeur, Adorno

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .