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Style and Faith Hardcover – Apr 24 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; export ed edition (April 24 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582431078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582431079
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 14.4 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,664,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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It is touching, as well as contingent, that the publication of the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) should have taken place in the centenary year of Gerard Manley Hopkins's death. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Light Fantastic on May 24 2003
Format: Hardcover
Geoffrey Hill is most commonly recognised as one of the most difficult, and important, poets of our day. Born in Bromsgrove, England, in 1932, Hill has written several volumes of excellent poetry. However, he is also a first-class literary historian and critic, as is evident from this collection of seven previously published articles, which date from 1989 to 1999. Five of them stem from the Times Literary Supplement, such as the first two, which are review articles on the publication of the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, in 1989, and on a 'modernized spelling' version of Tyndale's bible, and the Revised English Bible, a new translation. With a skill few others could hope to match, Hill weighs the value and inadequacies of the works. Other articles include a rumination on Henry Vaughan's "The Night" and other forays into 16th and 17th century literature, his area of expertise.
While I would heartily recommend Hill's first two volumes of criticism, "The Lords of Limit", and "The Enemy's Country", to anyone interested in poetry, 16th/17th century literature, or Geoffrey Hill himself, it is harder to unreservedly praise this latest offering. This is not because it offers "nothing new" -- that is not my chief reservation. It is rather that the selection seems at times to lack coherence. One would have liked to have had perhaps another article, written especially for this volume, or at least an introduction of sorts that placed the individual essays in relation to one another and to the poet-critic's work as a whole.
Despite this minor criticism, this work offers a serious perspective unavailable elsewhere, and contains enough gems to warrant a good deal of study.
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An important collection of previously published articles May 24 2003
By The Light Fantastic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Geoffrey Hill is most commonly recognised as one of the most difficult, and important, poets of our day. Born in Bromsgrove, England, in 1932, Hill has written several volumes of excellent poetry. However, he is also a first-class literary historian and critic, as is evident from this collection of seven previously published articles, which date from 1989 to 1999. Five of them stem from the Times Literary Supplement, such as the first two, which are review articles on the publication of the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, in 1989, and on a 'modernized spelling' version of Tyndale's bible, and the Revised English Bible, a new translation. With a skill few others could hope to match, Hill weighs the value and inadequacies of the works. Other articles include a rumination on Henry Vaughan's "The Night" and other forays into 16th and 17th century literature, his area of expertise.
While I would heartily recommend Hill's first two volumes of criticism, "The Lords of Limit", and "The Enemy's Country", to anyone interested in poetry, 16th/17th century literature, or Geoffrey Hill himself, it is harder to unreservedly praise this latest offering. This is not because it offers "nothing new" -- that is not my chief reservation. It is rather that the selection seems at times to lack coherence. One would have liked to have had perhaps another article, written especially for this volume, or at least an introduction of sorts that placed the individual essays in relation to one another and to the poet-critic's work as a whole.
Despite this minor criticism, this work offers a serious perspective unavailable elsewhere, and contains enough gems to warrant a good deal of study.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Erudite but bizarre Oct. 22 2004
By James Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was introduced to Geoffrey Hill, both as poet and critic, by a friend whom I told of my love for 17th-century English literature. Style and Faith has only deepened this love, but it was an entangling, rather than enchanting, encounter for me.

I found Hill to be at his best when he tackles the literature directly, as in the essay on Vaughn's "Night" and, to a lesser degree, the essay paralleling Hooker and Burton. Hill's gratitude for this literary and spiritual heritage is profound and infectious. In addition, the bibliographical reach of the book is wonderful and has led me to make many further related purchases.

But his loyalty to these distant icons of an age with a greatly different "pitch" than ours can handicap Hill as well. This shows most in his book reviews, which, though pointed and learned, are impossibly crabbed and narrow. For instance, while there is no doubt (in my mind, at least) that the power of Scripture as written in English is closely dependent on the translator's style, to insist, as Hill does, that it is an abomination of the highest order to publish Tyndale's New Testament with modern spelling is patently ridiculous. Style and faith are definitely linked, but faith and orthography are not.

Nevertheless, there are few critics writing for the public who are as steeped in our literary inheritance as Hill, and these essays, while erratic, are highly valuable.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant! Jan. 10 2007
By Harold Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
John Hollander calls Hill "the finest British poet of our time." The praise is worthilly placed. He is a powerful force in the realm of literary thought, and beyond. Any souls who have read the essayist work of Dorothy Sayers or G.K Chesterton will find in these pages of Hill a literary kinship of souls. Although their ideas may differ, one can easilly imagine these three essayists gathered around the same table exchanging vigorous thoughts. Hill seems to possess the temperament of ruggedness with contemplation that is Seamus Heaney.

Some of the previous reviewers criticized the essays as lacking coherence; they forget these are essays, not a formal treatise. The essays are Hill's look from various angles and postures of thought along one line of thought.

As far as what one reviewer referred to as his crankiness, it is refreshing to find a contemporary writer standing firmly upon thoughts not influenced merely by the latest literary fads. In this way he is, as all the best artists, brilliantly and refreshingly original.

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