A clear introductory account of the work of Geoffrey Hill, one of the finest but also most complex of contemporary British poets. Geoffrey Hill is widely regarded as one of the finest British poets of our time. His highly distinctive poetry is unrivalled in its historical scope, philosophical depth and rhetorical power, and joins intense ethical seriousness with wit, ambiguity and humour. In his own terms a 'radically traditional poet', Hill combines religious modes of thought with rigorous scepticism and, while insisting on the importance of the past to an understanding of the present, reveals the constructed nature of historical discourses. His poetry eschews 'self-expression' yet explores the complexity of selfhood. Hill's unusual subject-matter, formal richness and dense, allusive style have often led to his work being read in isolation from contemporary culture.
In this clear but subtle discussion of Hill's poetry, Andrew Roberts combines close reading of poems with review of critical debates on this unique and often controversial figure in contemporary literature, so as to do justice to Hill's achievement whilst stressing its connection with contemporary theoretical and cultural issues.
Andrew Michael Roberts is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Dundee. His publications include books on Conrad and Masculinity and The Novel and articles on twentieth-century fiction and poetry. He is currently co-editing a collection of essays, Poetry and Contemporary Culture.