Read e-book online Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words PDF

By Matthew Sperling

ISBN-10: 0191004448

ISBN-13: 9780191004445

Interviewed in 1966, Geoffrey Hill acknowledged, 'Language includes every little thing you will have - background, sociology, economics: it's a form of drama of human destiny'.

This ebook indicates how the paintings of 1 of the key post-war writers in English has been charged through a mythological feel of language's old drama, through interpreting the total physique of Hill's poetry from sixty years opposed to a practice of visionary poet-philologists that he himself has delineated. That line runs from the present-day editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, via Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Chenevix Trench within the Victorian period, to Samuel Taylor Coleridge within the early 19th century, and eventually again to Saint Augustine's idea of language.

Through distinctive shut readings of Hill's paintings and its scholarly inspirations, and large clean archival examine, new mild is shed upon poetry's relation to lexicography, etymology, and theological understandings of language. Key topics contain language's fallenness from prelapsarian origins, its an infection and enrichment by means of unique sin and blunder, the prospective restoration of its pristine origins via surrogates resembling song, Hebrew, or the language of angels, and its prestige as an enviornment of political and old contestation.

The e-book considers a miles wider diversity of Hill's writings, in a ways larger aspect, than feedback of his paintings has to this point performed, and it's the first to make enormous use of lately to be had archive fabrics. It thereby provides one of many fullest and so much authoritative debts of the paintings of a residing author lately.

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Additional info for Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words

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Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works, ed. Catherine Phillips (Oxford, 2002), 339.  will not be chancell’d, when they read Common-Prayer to the whole Congregation, they must be censur’d’ (OED2)), it doesn’t record the verb form to chancel, from which that adjective derives, and under which Hopkins’s word would be instanced. The proposition that unchancelled itself demands a separate lemma—that the lexicographers should work up a definition, carefully explaining the visionary strangeness of a coinage that embraces the counteracting of a German chancellor together with an ambiguous sense of no longer being located in a particular part of a church—offers an extreme vision of the poetics of lexicography.

In shifting through variant forms to arrive at the English one—‘ruyter, ritterkind, | rutterkin’—the poem acts out some philological work of its own. The word ruyter is Middle Dutch, and in the late fourteenth cen­ tury it became rutter, before German rutter and the variant ritter emerged in the fifteenth century, all of them ultimately deriving from the ­Germanic base which gives us the verb to ride (OED3). The careful work in historical lexicology which Hill’s ‘ruyter, ritterkind, | rutterkin’ performs is recognized by the change made to the usage tag for the dictionary’s third edition: since there is now a late-twentieth-century instance of the word, the tag is updated from the second edition’s ‘obs[olete] ’ to ‘now hist[orical] rare’.

Auden, and even Dylan Thomas and James Joyce (except for most of Finnegans Wake). 54 53 Taylor, Hardy’s Literary Language, 6. See also John Considine, ‘Literary Classics in OED Quotation Evidence’, Review of English Studies, 60 (2009), 620–38; and Brewer, ‘The Use of Literary Quotations in the Oxford English Dictionary’, Review of English Studies, 61 (2010), 93–125. 54 Robert W. Burchfield and Hans Aarsleff, The Oxford English Dictionary and the State of the Language (Washington, DC, 1988), 24, 27.

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Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words by Matthew Sperling


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