Journal Article

EROS IN GEOFFREY HILL'S SCENES FROM COMUS

Alex Wylie

in English: Journal of the English Association

Volume 60, issue 230, pages 198-211
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0013-8215
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1756-1124 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/english/efr003
EROS IN GEOFFREY HILL'S SCENES FROM COMUS

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  • Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)
  • Literary Studies (American)
  • Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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This article explores some of the sources, poetic and philosophical, of Hill's recent book-length poem Scenes from Comus, with particular emphasis on the interrogations of language, selfhood, and ethics which drive the work. Hill's notion of ‘eros’, as described in recent criticism written in the same period as Scenes from Comus, is at the heart of this book-length poem, and provides a key to understanding his ethical approach in the work. The essay also describes some of the correspondences between Scenes from Comus and John Milton's masque of 1634 known as ‘Comus’. Hill's view of the poet in relation to the community, a relationship which finds its correlate in the relationship between Self and Other, is closely related to this more subjective notion of eros. The article refers to Emmanuel Levinas, as well as Hill's recent work on T. S. Eliot and F. H. Bradley, to interrogate this relationship between the personal and the civic in the erotic trope, and in the poet's position as eccentric figure more generally.

Journal Article.  5662 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature) ; Literary Studies (American) ; Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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