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Speaking to YouContemporary Poetry and Public Address$
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Natalie Pollard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657001.001.0001

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Just Concessions: Conviction, Persuasion, Coercion

Just Concessions: Conviction, Persuasion, Coercion

(p.171) 8 Just Concessions: Conviction, Persuasion, Coercion
Speaking to You

Geoffrey Hill

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Hill's use of address for persuasion and concession. These are nearly always pejorative terms in Hill, allied with weakness, susceptibility to coercion. Attentive to Wordsworth's ‘Convention of Cintra’ (quoted by Hill in The Triumph of Love) and to Wordsworth's sentiment that poetry must befit its audience and ‘adopt the very language of men’, this chapter questions the extent to which Hill's address similarly pursues a ‘struggle / for a noble vernacular’. To what extent are the speakers’ persuasively ‘humbled’ confessions deemed problematic in such work? This chapter focuses particularly on the essay ‘Our Word is Our Bond’ and on Hill's uneasy textual relationships with Eliot, Pound, and J. L. Austin.

Keywords:   Geoffrey Hill, coercion, Wordsworth, romantic, Austin, Bond, Pound, Eliot

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