1 minute read

Geoffrey Hill Biography

(1932– ), For the Unfallen, King Log, Mercian Hymns, Tenebrae

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Hersey Biography to Honest Man's Revenge

British poet, born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, educated at Keble College, Oxford. He taught at the University of Leeds from 1954 to 1980, when he became a university lecturer in English at Cambridge. For the Unfallen (1959), his first substantial collection of verse, displayed his virtuosity in the use of traditional forms. His preoccupations with religious and historical themes are expressed in verse of resonant grandeur in the ‘Funeral Music’ sequence in King Log (1968). The collection's concern with disjunctions between power and morality remains central to the prose poems of Mercian Hymns (1971); the volume's treatment of the life and times of King Offa is wittily enlivened by anachronistic intrusions of modernity into ancient Mercia. Tenebrae (1979) contains his most unequivocally religious writing in the disquietingly intense sonnets of the ‘Lachrimae’ sequence. The thirteen sonnets of ‘An Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture in England’ are equally impressive for the lucidity and their complex discourse on history. The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy (1983), Hill's meditation on the French author, reflects aspects of his own philosophy. His Collected Poems appeared in 1985 and 1994. His essays were collected in The Lords of Limit (1984); The Enemy's Country (1991) is a critical work on language and its contexts.

Additional topics