Acceptable Words: Essays on the Poetry of Geoffrey Hill by Jeffrey Wainwright

By Jeffrey Wainwright

Geoffrey Hill has stated that a few nice poetry 'recognises that phrases fail us'. those essays discover Hill's fight over fifty years with the recalcitrance of language. This e-book seeks to teach how all his paintings is marked by means of the search for the fitting pitch of utterance if it is sorrowing, offended, satiric or erotic. It exhibits how Hill's phrases are by no means flippantly 'acceptable' yet a moral act, how he seeks out phrases he can stand via - phrases which are 'getting it right'.

This e-book is the main complete and up to date severe paintings on Geoffrey Hill up to now, masking all his paintings as much as ‘Scenes from Comus’ (2005), in addition to a few poems but to seem in e-book shape. It goals to give a contribution whatever to the certainty of his poetry between those that have it for a few years and scholars and different readers encountering this significant poet for the 1st time.

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Extra info for Acceptable Words: Essays on the Poetry of Geoffrey Hill

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Fish, in short, is an inverted essentialist. indd 19 05/03/12 2:59 PM T H E E V E N T O F L I T E R AT U R E essences while Fish thinks they do not. Otherwise they are in perfect agreement. D. Hirsch argues that ‘literature has no independent essence, aesthetic or otherwise. ’3 Once again, we are offered a Hobson’s choice between the essentialist and the arbitrary. The most persuasive alternative to this false dilemma remains Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theory of so-called family resemblances, first advanced in his Philosophical Investigations.

Indd 29 05/03/12 2:59 PM T H E E V E N T O F L I T E R AT U R E than objects, and who thus regress to the infantile state of oral eroticism which Seamus Heaney has called ‘mouth music’. In this sense, the ‘deviant’ (childish babbling) is the condition of the nondeviant (adult language), just as play is the condition of non-play, and the non-pragmatic of the pragmatic. Children’s fiction, fantasy, speech, mimesis and make-believe are not cognitive aberrations but the very seedbed of adult knowledge and behaviour.

This is not, of course, to suggest that poems and jokes are the same thing. Socially speaking, they are clearly different practices. Differences and resemblances depend on a lot more than formal qualities. Quite often it is the material context or social situation which enforces a distinction between what is literature and what is not. The whole point of a joke is to be funny, which is not true of a lot of what we call literature. It is certainly not true of The Malcontent, John Gabriel Borkman or Mourning Becomes Electra, except for those with a peculiarly perverse sense of humour.

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