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Acceptable WordsEssays on the Poetry of Geoffrey Hill$
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Jeffrey Wainwright

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719067549

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719067549.001.0001

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Things and words: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy (1983)

Things and words: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy (1983)

(p.44) 5 Things and words: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy (1983)
Acceptable Words

Jeffrey Wainwright

Manchester University Press

After the long, shifting account of Charles Péguy in Hill's poem, what are we to take from him? There is ready denouement. The stanza edges towards a close of the poem's complex meditation in an almost sidelong fashion, motivated or affected towards its ‘cry’, the sounds of eulogy and lament sliding the words against each other. The poem relates to ‘things’, the world outside itself, specifically the life lived by Charles Péguy for which it is a work of celebration and sorrow, the genres of ‘éloge and elegy’. Hill's whole poem travels over these two possibilities: circumstances in which the self-sufficiency, the given facts of the world, events themselves, are moved by words; and circumstances where they seem without real object and yet are ‘moving’.

Keywords:   Charles Péguy, Geoffrey Hill, elegy, eulogy

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