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Geoffrey Hill’s “Hard-Won Affirmation”: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy

Seaver College, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA 90263, USA
Academic Editor: Kevin Hart
Religions 2016, 7(12), 143;
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 October 2016 / Published: 5 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue English Poetry and Christianity)
PDF [209 KB, uploaded 5 December 2016]


Sir Geoffrey Hill, long hailed as Britain’s greatest living poet, was devoted to remembering the deceased, those forgotten in the debased din of mass culture—some of them worthy of our emulation, others edifying by their “folly” or “criminality” (Paris Review interview). Hill’s recent death, on 30 June 2016, presents an apt time to remember his own life-work. In its act of memorial as homage, The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy marks a departure for Hill: whereas his earlier work often rests in ambiguity, Péguy labors through the ambiguity—through characteristically antiphonal tones of voice, rhythms, and images—and concludes in affirmation, a note of hope, which points in the direction of some of his later work. Through all of his complexity, Péguy’s life—like Hill’s poem—conforms to a kenotic, Christological pattern and is thus worthy of our emulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Geoffrey Hill; Péguy; Christianity; incarnation; affirmation Geoffrey Hill; Péguy; Christianity; incarnation; affirmation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Contino, P.J. Geoffrey Hill’s “Hard-Won Affirmation”: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy. Religions 2016, 7, 143.

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