Geoffrey Hill, edited by Kenneth Haynes
Collected Critical Writings.
Oxford University Press, 832 pages, $49.95

Geoffrey Hill’s prose shares with his verse an uncompromising strenuousness and denseness of allusion; his train of thought halts at all stations. Collected Critical Writings is not a book which will win over those who have decided that Hill is aloof and inaccessible. I suspect this would not worry him unduly, given his impatience, in the course of a diagnosis of the flabbiness of contemporary religious language, with the view that readers should be protected “from the jeopardy of cultural embarrassment or the faintest possibility of mental or emotional strain.”

The collection brings together Hill’s previously published critical books, The Lords of Limit (1984), The Enemy’s Country (1991), and Style and Faith (2003), together with...


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