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“Redeemed Swots”: Geoffrey Hill’s Pedagogically Touched Poetry

« Redeemed Swots »: comment la pédagogie affleure dans la poésie de Geoffrey Hill
Emily Taylor Merriman
p. 62-73

Résumé

Bien que Geoffrey Hill, en tant que poète et universitaire, soit l’illustration d’une situation largement répandue au vingtième siècle, il a produit peu d’écrits de grande ampleur sur l’éducation et la pédagogie, aussi bien dans sa prose que dans sa poésie. Néanmoins, certains de ses écrits articulent ou illustrent une corrélation entre les faits de la vie éducative, depuis l’enseignement élémentaire jusqu’au troisième cycle universitaire, et la doctrine du péché originel. En outre, il est possible de percevoir, dans le contenu et le style de sa poésie récente, les traces de plusieurs décennies d’enseignement.

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  • 1  Geoffrey Hill, Sermon at Balliol College, 11 November 2007.

I came to my own deep and abiding sense of the reality of original sin, partly through having to read about it: being professionally required to read in order to teach Donne and Newman, and Tyndale and Hooker, and Bunyan and T.S. Eliot; and partly through a long involvement with university teaching and administration. It is not possible to teach and administrate without being brought face to face with the knowledge of – as Eliot puts it: ‘Things ill done and done to others’ harm/Which once you took for exercise of virtue.’
Geoffrey Hill.1

  • 2  David Gervais, “‘A tyme for knots’”, The Cambridge Quarterly, 21.4, 1992, 394.

1Geoffrey Hill is an example of that largely 20th-century phenomenon: a poet in the academy. David Gervais speaks of the frustrating but worthwhile work of understanding Hill’s poetry better through Hill’s criticism. To explain the sheer arduousness of Hill’s writing, he declares: “But then Hill is also a professor and that too is part of his own ‘circumstance’”.2 Yet, and despite the old creative-writing admonition to write what you know, his poetry rarely touches directly on the topic of education. When it does, Hill demonstrates a rather British ambivalence about the value of schooling. School appears as a necessary evil, a form of institutionalized oppression with the paradoxical and vexed purpose of increasing freedom.

  • 3 René Gallet, Histoire et Poésie : Introduction à la Poéthique de Geoffrey Hill, Work in progress, 2 (...)

2While Hill’s poems are laden (some say overly) with the rich fruits of decades of scholarly endeavour, classrooms and their occupants appear only occasionally—and typically at playtime, during holidays, or while peeping at comic books under the desk lid. Similarly, Hill’s prose writings almost never address the topic of pedagogy head on. The impressively thorough index to the new Collected Critical Writings has no entry for “school”, “university”, “pedagogy”, “student”, “scholar”, “professor”, “pedant”, “teacher”, or “learning”, and only five for “education”, five for “academe/academic”, three for “autodidact”, and one for “literary studies”, which points to a quotation from Christopher Ricks. As René Gallet writes, “Poète et universitaire, Hill n’est certainement pas un poète universitaire.”3

  • 4  G. Hill, Mercian Hymns III, New & Collected Poems, 1952-1992, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994, 95. (...)

3Rather than being explicitly didactic, Hill’s poetry seeks to envision what Mercian Hymns momentarily celebrates as a “remission from school”,4 a phrase that subtly associates school with punishment, perhaps even divine punishment for human sins. The epigraph to this essay, from a 2007 sermon by Hill, demonstrates that both the subject matter and the social circumstances of his university teaching have strongly informed his view of human nature as sinful. Even though education is not a frequent focus of his attention, Hill’s poems have been shaped by their writer’s role as pupil, student, professor, and colleague.

4Establishing a professorial persona; grading papers; participating in university administrative structures; preparing and delivering many lectures to audiences of varying degrees of devotion and indifference; listening intently for hours, despite hearing difficulties, to students’ questions and comments, and responding—all these have heightened the rhetoric of Hill’s oratorical voice in the later collections. The rhetorical structures of his poetry do not mirror his methods of teaching, however; his classroom style is straightforward but not simple, while his poetry can be labyrinthine but not impenetrable.

  • 5  G. Hill, The Orchards of Syon, Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 2002.
  • 6  Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Wreck of the Deutschland”, Major Works, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986, 114.

5The lessons to be derived from Hill’s poetry go beyond what happens in today’s typical schoolroom or lecture hall. The poems’ concern with the teaching of what one might call “wisdom”—a virtue that requires memory, attention, and humility, but also a self-reliant wariness of the guidance of others—exceeds the ordinarily circumscribed context of classroom knowledge. If “Life is a dream”, as The Orchards of Syon5 sometimes insists, then it is a dream that demands both learning and sharing the hard harvest of one’s own lessons with others. Life, in fact, is a “school dream”, full of sleepy, recalcitrant pupils (“unteachably after evil”, as Hopkins says in “The Wreck of the Deutschland”6) and dodgy teachers, but not quite devoid of the hope of graduation into wakefulness.

  • 7  G. Hill, CX, The Triumph of Love, London: Penguin, 1999, 57.

6Geoffrey Hill has spent most of his life in education. As a pupil in Worcestershire, he attended Fairfield Junior School and Bromsgrove County High School. He also attended Sunday school in an Anglican church, where he sang in the choir. A passage on early schooling in The Triumph of Love concludes with the childhood memory “six days / a week—Saturdays off—the sustained, / inattentive, absorbing of King James’ English.”7 In 1950, Hill went up to Keble College, Oxford, where he earned a first in English. His teaching career lasted over fifty years, with his longest stint at the University of Leeds from 1954 until 1980. The Leeds years were interspersed with time as a visiting Lecturer at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1959-60 and at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1967. He went to the University of Bristol on a Churchill Fellowship before becoming a teaching fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he taught from 1981 until 1989. Hill then moved to the United States to serve as University Professor and Professor of Literature and Religion at Boston University. In 2006, he returned to Cambridge, England, where his wife Alice Goodman is Chaplain at Trinity College.

7What can we gather from the few references to education in Hill’s critical writings? The Collected Critical Writings are dedicated “To the University of Leeds, In Memory of Edward Boyle 1923-1981”. Boyle was Minister of Education from 1962-64 and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1970 to 1981. Hill may wish to remember him for his leadership of the institution to which Hill himself dedicated so many years of service. Yet Boyle, a Conservative, also played a significant role in the transition to comprehensive education from the secondary modern/grammar school divisions that prevailed in Great Britain until the late 1960s, and that, according to the supporters of comprehensives, often mirrored and reinforced social class boundaries.8 Boyle ended his foreword to the Newsom Report (on the education of less academically gifted children): “The essential point is that all children should have an equal opportunity of acquiring intelligence, and of developing their talents and abilities to the full.”9

  • 10  Hill refers to the Milton text in his interview with Blake Morrison (“Under Judgement”, New States (...)
  • 11  “A Note on the Title”, prefatory to The Enemy’s Country. Collected Critical Writings, op. cit., 17 (...)

8To dedicate a major opus such as the Collected Critical Writings as Hill did suggests an abiding interest in educational practices at all levels. Despite this interest, and despite the fact that we know—because he quotes from them—that he read the educational manifestoes “Of Education” (Milton) and “The Aims of Education” (T. S. Eliot), Hill has never written such a manifesto himself.10 The closest he comes to articulating his view of academia in print is “A Note on the Title”, prefatory to The Enemy’s Country, in which he characterizes the sources for his title as “sallies against learning”. Indeed, for one of these sources, William Davenant, it is “the vast field of Learning” that constitutes “the enemy’s country”. In a long paragraph, Hill charts a wary course between the Scylla of anti-intellectualism and the Charybdis of pedantry—which sounds, in his terms, like a narrower strait than one might imagine (173).11 He concludes by distinguishing between “intellect”, which is inherently learned, and “culture” and “education”, which are subject to changing fashions. (About the true learnedness of contemporary culture and education, Hill feels “less confident”.)

  • 12  Hill borrows the phrase “communities of opinion” from Emerson. “Alienated Majesty: Gerard M. Hopki (...)
  • 13  “A Note on the Title”, CCW,562.
  • 14 Ibid., 173.
  • 15  See G. Hill, “The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy, New & Collected,172.

9Elsewhere, Hill shows his continued awareness that education at all levels is a contextual force, tied in with “communities of opinion”12 that can grant or withhold power from writers. In “Eros in F. H. Bradley and T. S. Eliot” he writes, “Our subject remains eros, alienation, and power, specifically the power of words when arranged in alien and alienating formal patterns on the printed page, and more generally the power that can be conferred by popular attention, that can be withheld by inattention, caprice, or policy or because of the priorities of general and specialist education.”13 Both of these references to education in the critical writings (written decades apart) speak deprecatingly of popularity. In The Enemy’s Country, Hill notes, “To ‘think what other people think’ is as likely to be the province of ‘the popular boys.’”14 Many teachers seek to teach students to think what they think. My own experience of British schools (from the various perspectives of student, teacher, and step-parent) suggests that the intellectual child is rarely popular, but is rather in danger of being despised as the “school prig”.15

  • 16  William Wootten, “Rhetoric and Violence in Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns and the Speeches of Enoch (...)

10At the beginning of his essay on Mercian Hymns, William Wootten puzzles over some lines that he rightly associates with Hill’s attendance at Fairfield Junior School:16

  • 17  LXXXII, The Triumph of Love, 42.

But Fairfield repels
my imperium, and always did. Its complex
anarchy of laws would have defeated Athelstan,
let alone Ine. High swine-pasture it was,
long before Domesday; and will be again,
albeit briefly, at the flash of Judgement.
Let it now take for good a bad part of my
childself. I gather I was a real swine.17

  • 18  CX, The Triumph of Love, 57.
  • 19  VII, Mercian Hymns, New & Collected, 99.

11These lines superimpose Anglo-Saxon history on a young boy’s experience of powerlessness in the midst of playground society, with its unwritten maze of rules favoring strong and popular children. The references to “swine-pasture” and “swine” suggest two sources. One is William Golding’s TheLord of the Flies, an allegory of original sin amongst stranded British schoolboys. Golding’s novel features both real pigs, whose territory is invaded and who are hunted, and the character of Piggy, Golding’s representative intellectual, who meets a bloody end in the vicious anarchy that develops in the boys’ community. The other allusion is to Winston Churchill’s description of his schooling as “sham pearls before real swine”. The brutality that children can experience at school, at the hands of other children and of adults, reappears elsewhere in Hill’s work. In The Triumph of Love, Hill traces the origins of his speaker’s angry mindset—“This glowering carnival, kermesse of wrath” (a repeated phrase; see also CXII, CXXIV, CXXXVII)—to his primary school years, “deep / among elementary mayhem”.18 In Mercian Hymns, using the same Anglo-Saxon history as the later The Triumph of Love, one schoolboy beats up another as punishment for losing a prized toy airplane between the classroom floorboards. The incident is multiply emblematic of the fall of childhood joy and innocence into the abyss.19

  • 20  “Cowan Bridge”, Ibid., 75.
  • 21  “9.9.42 HILL, Geoffrey W.”, Agenda, 30.1-2, 1992, 122. See also an interview with Hill in The New (...)

12It is not just boys who find that the injustices of life at school render them righteously or self-righteously angry. An early Hill poem, “Cowan Bridge,” voices the speaker’s response to visiting the place that inspired Jane Eyre’s fictional Lowood School. Hill’s poem describes the natural surroundings where Jane Eyre finds some comfort from the school’s cruelties; it mourns injustice, and, praising Brontë, commends the “modesty of her rage”.20 Fortunately, not all educators are as vicious as Mr. Brocklehurst. In fact, Jane Eyre herself becomes a teacher at Lowood, and the collection in which “Cowan Bridge” was published, King Log, is dedicated to one of Geoffrey Hill’s own English teachers at Bromsgrove, Kenneth Curtis. In a special issue of Agenda, Norman Rea, a contemporary of Hill’s at Bromsgrove, offers an autobiographical retrospective informed by school archives that include Hill’s secondary school juvenilia. Rea argues that Curtis’s guidance helped Hill to find his distinctive style: “I have no doubt that KHMC was a prime motivator in developing Geoffrey’s work.”21 Teachers, whose ranks Hill himself joined, can be hypocrites seeking to crush their students or recreate them in their own image—or they can be nurturing figures who lead their students toward new discoveries.

  • 22 CCW., 633.
  • 23  “Elegiac Stanzas”, New & Collected, 31.
  • 24  “Solomon’s Mines”, Ibid., 14.

13As we all know, the people we work with, not just the people we learn from, affect our lives. Even conversations with co-workers (in this case co-directors of an Editorial Institute) can find their way into texts, as indicated by an endnote in the Collected Critical Writings: “Christopher Ricks’s redefinition: In conversation with me.”22 Hill has had many colleagues in several universities, and he sometimes acknowledges their influence in dedications. For example, Hill’s early poem about Romanticism “Elegiac Stanzas: On a Visit to Dove Cottage”23 is dedicated to J.P. Mann—that is, Peter Mann who was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at Leeds, and himself an expert on Coleridge. “Solomon’s Mines”, another poem from Hill’s first collection, is dedicated to Bonamy Dobrée, his senior colleague at Leeds.24

  • 25  “Cycle”, Ibid., 211.

14Most significantly in the present context, Hill has dedicated a poem to William Arrowsmith, a teacher, scholar, critic, editor and translator who sought to reform the study of the humanities and make them more meaningful to the lives of human beings. The poem, the penultimate one in New & Collected Poems (1994), was first published as part of a collection “In Memoriam William Arrowsmith” in the journal Arion.25 Hill’s poem, “Cycle”, directly follows four pieces by Arrowsmith, in which he argues that the humanities should again emphasize the personal greatness of the imagination and the intelligence and that universities should restore the high status of great teaching. Hill’s poem begins and ends with reference to the “beatitudes”, the strange but enduring teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5:3-12. The New Testament passage identifies the rewards or consolations for human attributes, manifested in activity in the world. Hill’s association of Arrowsmith with the Sermon on the Mount, with nature, and with “praise and lament” (the rhetorical mode of much of his own later poetry) implies great respect for his colleague.

  • 26  G. Hill, Without Title, London: Penguin, 2006, 25-27.
  • 27 Ibid., 19-20.
  • 28  In 2006, Richard remarked that this class—the discussions that he and Hill had inside and outside (...)
  • 29  G. Hill, Without Title, op. cit., 62-3. There are other poets who studied with Geoffrey Hill at Le (...)

15In Without Title (2006), there are two poems addressed to other colleagues at Boston University (in these instances the dedications form part of the title): “Discourse: For Stanley Rosen”,26 which invokes different perspectives on philosophical and poetic language, and “To Lucien Richard: On Suffering”.27 Professors Hill and Richard co-taught a course at Boston University entitled “Discourse and ‘Otherness’: The Ethics of Language and Violence”.28 Hill’s poem is both an anecdote of two friends on a fishing outing along the North Shore of Massachusetts and a continuation of their theological discussion of suffering. Hill’s work thus shows the traces of his relationships with his teachers, his colleagues, and also with his students. The collection Without Title includes a diptych “Ars” in memoriam of Ken Smith, who had been Hill’s student at Leeds.29

  • 30  X, The Triumph of Love, 4.
  • 31  XLIV, The Orchards of Syon, 44.
  • 32  Vincent Sherry, The Uncommon Tongue: The Poetry and Criticism of Geoffrey Hill, Ann Arbor: U of Mi (...)
  • 33  XLIV, The Orchards of Syon, 44.

16The decades of teaching and interacting with others in education left their mark on Hill’s style in his later work. There is the sense of public speaking to those who may not be paying attention, or who may be projecting onto their professor some of the same negative feelings about schooling that Hill’s own writing demonstrates. All teaching is in some respects a performance, and Hill learned how to keep students engaged through humor, illuminating digressions, variations in volume, and variations in pitch—all features of his later verse. Hill’s poems even began to comment on themselves, almost as if he were the professor expounding on the text at hand. For instance, The Triumph of Love enacts and explains epanalepsis: “the same word first and last”.30The Orchards of Syon in particular takes to pointing out the sources of quotations and allusions, even highlighting them with capital letters like lecture notes (“Armed Vision is of course COLERIDGE”).31 Hill’s poetry sometimes summarizes, explains, argues, identifies, or imagines an audience’s response, as a teacher would. Yet his poems are much less semantically driven than his lectures and do not belong to the explicitly didactic tradition in English poetry. Vincent Sherry associates Pound’s “hubris” and his shameful political statements with his “obtruding himself onto the verse in the superior role of pedant and pedagogue.”32 Sherry implicitly argues that Hill does not set himself up in this role; in fact, he eschews it. At the beginning of The Orchards of Syon, for example, the speaker announces his own unreliability: “Watch my hands / confabulate their shadow rhetoric”.33

17In “Of Education” (whence comes Hill’s description of poetry as “simple, sensuous, and passionate”), Milton declares, “The end then of Learning is to repair the ruines of our first Parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him […]”.34 In other words, from Milton’s Christian perspective, the ultimate purpose of education is to work towards personal and societal redemption from sin. In contemporary Great Britain at least, despite the Establishment of the Church of England, the purposes of state education are not certainly not this: “Stations of the cross are not standard school / crossings, unless for non-standard children”.35

  • 36 CCWop. cit., 287.
  • 37  CXVI, The Triumph of Love, 61.
  • 38  XL, The Orchards of Syon, 40. For further exploration of this topic, see R. Gallet, “Geoffrey Hill (...)

18In “Of Diligence and Jeopardy”, Hill describes the causes of ignorance at the end of the 20th century—not necessarily the same as those in past eras: “Our ignorance […] results from methods of communication and education which have destroyed memory and dissipated attention.”36The Triumph of Love says similarly: “Memory / and attention died, comme ça, / which is not reasonable”.37 Certainly the elements in Hill’s long sequences that appear, disappear, and reappear later prompt readers to try to exercise their memory. A phrase in The Orchards of Syon suggests the incompatibility of old ways of recognizing human limitation and new educational technology’s ways of spreading knowledge: “Penitential Psalms on dot edu”.38

  • 39  “University mission and academic freedom”, in European Journal for Education Law and Policy, vol. (...)

19Charles L. Glenn argues in “University mission and academic freedom: Are they irreconcilable?”: “Our contribution to shaping the lives and the character of our students is not achieved by preaching to them, but by the humility and attention with which we search for truth.” Glenn acknowledges that he owes the phrase “humility and attention” to his “Boston University colleague, the poet Geoffrey Hill, who thus describes how the poet stands before reality”.39 In this way, Hill’s stance has got its foot in the door of educational theory.

  • 40  “Pindarics, after Cesare Pavese 8,” Without Title, 42.
  • 41  “Letter from Oxford”, The London Magazine, 1954, 74.

20Yet Hill has never sought to make any pronouncements in that arena. Although he values learning, including self-directed learning, he resists valuing education as an end in itself. My title comes from a poem written “after Cesar Pavese” and addressed to the Italian poet, who wrote his thesis on Whitman. Here Hill asserts that creative results may justify excessive, studious labour: “Disasters have their triumphs: redeemed swots, / you with your Whitman, while I cribbed from much / maligned beau Allen Tate Pindaric odes”.40 The pains of over-study can only be redeemed by what they give birth to. In addition to his rejection of pedantry, Hill laments education’s tendency to become a means of gaining ego-based power over others. In a piece of youthful prose, “Letter from Oxford”, Hill identifies the stultifying force that certain forms of university tradition can exert on learners, as when portraits of old faculty members (“all evil-looking old men”) make you feel “browbeaten by the past”.41

  • 42  Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall”, The Wall, 1979.

21In his resistance to schools’ and universities’ tendency to enforce particular opinions and behaviours, there are occasional moments in Hill’s writing that resonate with the 1979 Pink Floyd lyrics: “We don’t need no education / We don’t need no thought control”.42 But Hill also “mourn[s]” and “resent[s]” the contemporary “desolation of learning”—the loss of the kind of understanding that The Triumph of Love defines as

  • 43  G. Hill, CXIX, The Triumph of Love, 63.

…diligence
and attention, appropriately understood
as actuated self-knowledge, a daily acknowledgement
of what is owed the dead.43

  • 44  XLVII, The Orchards of Syon, 47.
  • 45  G. Hill, “A Note on the Title”, Collected Critical Writings, 173.

22The Orchards of Syon pleads: “Come down from your high / Thrones of question, good doctors of wisdom.”44 Academic learning remains academic unless it is infused with learning about oneself and others. Hill’s verse suggests that instead of asking grand questions from illusory positions of power, we students and teachers might do better to look closely at what is before us, including the earth that we walk on and the language that we use. Simultaneously, he urges us to remain conscious of our inability to demonstrate beyond another’s doubt the truth of whatever answers we would give to a child’s questions: “Who are we?” “Where have the dead gone?” “And why are we here now?” Ambivalent as Hill is about education, the speaker of his poems is a peculiar kind of teacher, one who seeks, as Hill says of Thomas Nashe, to ply his “anti-pedantic learning with comic grace.”45

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Bibliographie

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BRONTË Charlotte, Jane Eyre, London: Penguin, 2003.

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GERVAIS David, “‘A tyme for knots’: Geoffrey Hill’s Clark Lectures”, The Cambridge Quarterly, 21.4, 1992, 389-394.
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GLENN Charles, “University mission and academic freedom: Are they irreconcilable?”, European Journal for Education Law and Policy, vol. 4, 2000, 41-47. [Revised and reprinted in Citizenship and Higher Education The Role of Universities in Community and Society (Key Issues in Higher Education), edited by James Arthur, Abingdon, UK: Routledge Falmer, 2005, 33-50.]

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PINK FLOYD, “Another Brick in the Wall”, The Wall, 1979.

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SHERRY Vincent, The Uncommon Tongue: The Poetry and Criticism of Geoffrey Hill, Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1987.

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DOI : 10.2307/1502797

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WOOTTEN William, “Rhetoric and Violence in Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns and the Speeches of Enoch Powell”, The Cambridge Quarterly, 29.1, 2000, 1-15.
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Notes

1  Geoffrey Hill, Sermon at Balliol College, 11 November 2007.

2  David Gervais, “‘A tyme for knots’”, The Cambridge Quarterly, 21.4, 1992, 394.

3 René Gallet, Histoire et Poésie : Introduction à la Poéthique de Geoffrey Hill, Work in progress, 2009.

4  G. Hill, Mercian Hymns III, New & Collected Poems, 1952-1992, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994, 95. Hereafter New & Collected.

5  G. Hill, The Orchards of Syon, Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 2002.

6  Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Wreck of the Deutschland”, Major Works, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986, 114.

7  G. Hill, CX, The Triumph of Love, London: Penguin, 1999, 57.

8  See J. R. G. Tomlinson, “Comprehensive Education in England and Wales, 1944-1991”, European Journal of Education, 26.2, 1991.

9  Edward Boyle, Foreword to the Newsom Report 1963, <http://www.dg.dial.pipex.com/documents/docs2/newsom00.shtml>.

10  Hill refers to the Milton text in his interview with Blake Morrison (“Under Judgement”, New Statesman, 2 Feb 1980, 212), and to the Eliot lectures in “Word Value in F. H. Bradley and T. S. Eliot”, Collected Critical Writings, Oxford : Oxford UP, 2008, 539.

11  “A Note on the Title”, prefatory to The Enemy’s Country. Collected Critical Writings, op. cit., 173. Hereafter CCW.

12  Hill borrows the phrase “communities of opinion” from Emerson. “Alienated Majesty: Gerard M. Hopkins,” in CCW, 530, quoting Emerson, “Self-Reliance”, in Essays and Lectures, 264.

13  “A Note on the Title”, CCW,562.

14 Ibid., 173.

15  See G. Hill, “The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy, New & Collected,172.

16  William Wootten, “Rhetoric and Violence in Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns and the Speeches of Enoch Powell”, The Cambridge Quarterly, 29.1, 2000, 1.

17  LXXXII, The Triumph of Love, 42.

18  CX, The Triumph of Love, 57.

19  VII, Mercian Hymns, New & Collected, 99.

20  “Cowan Bridge”, Ibid., 75.

21  “9.9.42 HILL, Geoffrey W.”, Agenda, 30.1-2, 1992, 122. See also an interview with Hill in The New York Sun, (7 Nov. 2002), in which he mentions the influence of Ken Curtis.

22 CCW., 633.

23  “Elegiac Stanzas”, New & Collected, 31.

24  “Solomon’s Mines”, Ibid., 14.

25  “Cycle”, Ibid., 211.

26  G. Hill, Without Title, London: Penguin, 2006, 25-27.

27 Ibid., 19-20.

28  In 2006, Richard remarked that this class—the discussions that he and Hill had inside and outside the classroom—was one of the best things he’d ever done (Personal interview with Lucien Richard, 6 Apr. 2006.)

29  G. Hill, Without Title, op. cit., 62-3. There are other poets who studied with Geoffrey Hill at Leeds and Boston Universities. The Leeds University Library Special Collections Web site lists, for example Tony Harrison, James Simmons, Ken Smith and Jon Glover (<http://www.leeds.ac.uk/library/spcoll/leedspoetry/hill.htm>).

30  X, The Triumph of Love, 4.

31  XLIV, The Orchards of Syon, 44.

32  Vincent Sherry, The Uncommon Tongue: The Poetry and Criticism of Geoffrey Hill, Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1987, 30.

33  XLIV, The Orchards of Syon, 44.

34  John Milton, “Of Education”, <http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/of_education/>.

35  G. Hill, “Courtly Masquing Dances”, 61, in Scenes from Comus, London: Penguin, 2005, 45.

36 CCWop. cit., 287.

37  CXVI, The Triumph of Love, 61.

38  XL, The Orchards of Syon, 40. For further exploration of this topic, see R. Gallet, “Geoffrey Hill: la poésie, l’ordinateur et le péché originel”, in Communio : Revue Catholique Internationale, 21.3, 1996, 117-29.

39  “University mission and academic freedom”, in European Journal for Education Law and Policy, vol. 4, 2000, 46. A revised version of the essay, printed as “Universities of Character?”, in Citizenship and Higher Education The Role of Universities in Community and Society (2005), concludes the sentence: “but by the humility and the attention with which we search for the truth and share with them both the process and the results” (49).

40  “Pindarics, after Cesare Pavese 8,” Without Title, 42.

41  “Letter from Oxford”, The London Magazine, 1954, 74.

42  Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall”, The Wall, 1979.

43  G. Hill, CXIX, The Triumph of Love, 63.

44  XLVII, The Orchards of Syon, 47.

45  G. Hill, “A Note on the Title”, Collected Critical Writings, 173.

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Emily Taylor Merriman, « “Redeemed Swots”: Geoffrey Hill’s Pedagogically Touched Poetry », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. VII – n°3 | 2009, 62-73.

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Emily Taylor Merriman, « “Redeemed Swots”: Geoffrey Hill’s Pedagogically Touched Poetry », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. VII – n°3 | 2009, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2009, consulté le 30 août 2014. URL : http://lisa.revues.org/79 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.79

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Emily Taylor Merriman

Dr., (San Francisco, États-Unis)Emily Merriman is Assistant Professor in English at San Francisco State University, where she specializes in 20th-century and contemporary British, American and Caribbean poetry. She earned a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from Boston University and also has degrees from Oxford and London Universities. She has published essays on Gerard M. Hopkins, Adrienne Rich, Geoffrey Hill, and William Blake.

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