their incisiveness, moral passions and originality constitute a formidable lesson. They are a constant counterpoint to the genius of the poet. George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year the strongest pieces, especially from his first volume of essays, The Lords of Limit, yield nothing to Trilling in moral seriousness or to Auden in verbal scrupulousness. Stefan Collini, Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year
The Collected Critical Writings
gathers more than forty years of Hill's published criticism, in a revised final form, and also adds much new work. It will serve as the canonical volume of criticism by Hill, the pre-eminent poet-critic whom A. N. Wilson has called "probably the best writer alive, in verse or in prose." In his criticism Hill ranges widely, investigating both poets (including Jonson, Dryden, Hopkins, Whitman, Eliot, and Yeats ) and prose writers (such as Tyndale, Clarendon, Hobbes, Burton, Emerson, and F. H. Bradley). He is also steeped in the historical context - political, poetic, and religious - of the writers he studies. Most importantly, he brings texts and contexts into new and telling relations, neither reducing texts to the circumstances of their utterance nor imagining that they can float free of them. A number of the essays have already established themselves as essential reading on particular subjects, such as his analysis of Vaughan's "The Night", his discussion of Gurney's poetry, and his critical account of The Oxford English Dictionary
. Others confront the problems of language and the nature of value directly, as in "Our Word is Our Bond", "Language, Suffering, and Value", and "Poetry and Value". In all his criticism, Hill reveals literature to be an essential arena of civic intelligence.