Geoffrey Hill’s “Hard-Won Affirmation”: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy

Journal Title: Religions - Year 2016, Vol 7, Issue 12


Sir Geoffrey Hill, long hailed as Britain’s greatest living poet, was devoted to remembering the deceased, those forgotten in the debased din of mass culture—some of them worthy of our emulation, others edifying by their “folly” or “criminality” (Paris Review interview). Hill’s recent death, on 30 June 2016, presents an apt time to remember his own life-work. In its act of memorial as homage, The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy marks a departure for Hill: whereas his earlier work often rests in ambiguity, Péguy labors through the ambiguity—through characteristically antiphonal tones of voice, rhythms, and images—and concludes in affirmation, a note of hope, which points in the direction of some of his later work. Through all of his complexity, Péguy’s life—like Hill’s poem—conforms to a kenotic, Christological pattern and is thus worthy of our emulation.

Authors and Affiliations

Paul J. Contino


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How To Cite

Paul J. Contino (2016). Geoffrey Hill’s “Hard-Won Affirmation”: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy. Religions, 7(12), -.