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Geoffrey Hill's Later WorkRadiance of Apprehension$
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Alex Wylie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526124944

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526124951

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‘Bless hierarchy’: the cultural politics of Hill’s later work

‘Bless hierarchy’: the cultural politics of Hill’s later work

(p.112) Chapter 5 ‘Bless hierarchy’: the cultural politics of Hill’s later work
Geoffrey Hill's Later Work

Alex Wylie

Manchester University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of hierarchy and hegemony in Hill’s later work. The importance of Hill’s troubled conception of intrinsic value is pursued here, and its centrality to hierarchy as a pre-political “unknown order” which is a revocation of Eliot’s “ideal order” in ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’. The discussion here considers some of the thornier implications of Hill’s arguments regarding hierarchy and intrinsic value, with its implications around canonicity and democracy. The chapter continues with a consideration of Hill’s sense of difficulty and its cultural-political implications, developing the arguments about democracy and the democratic, concluding with a lengthy discussion of the ontological sense of Hill’s later work, and its cultural-political implications, drawing on Gabriel Marcel, and George Steiner. The chapter is at heart a meditation on elitism as a cultural-political concept the early twenty-first century, and what Hill makes of it in his later work.

Keywords:   Elitism, Difficulty, Ontology, George Steiner, Gabriel Marcel, John Keats, Cultural politics

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