Repository logo

Consummatum est: The end of the word in Geoffrey Hill's poetry



Change log


Docherty, Thomas Michael 


This thesis intends to demonstrate that the idea of the end is a crucial motive of Geoffrey Hill’s poetry. It analyses the verbal and formal means by which Hill attempts to have his poems arrive at ends. The ends are, chiefly, the reconciliation of antagonists in word or thought; and the perfect articulation of the poem. The acknowledgement of failure to achieve such ends provides its own impetus to Hill’s work. The thesis examines in detail Hill’s puns, word-games, rhymes, syntaxes, and genres — their local reconciliations and entrenched contrarieties — and claims for them a significant place in the study of Hill’s poetry, particularly with regard to its sustained concern with ends and endings.

Little has been written to date about Hill’s entire poetic corpus as represented in Broken Hierarchies (2013), due to the recentness of the work. This thesis draws from the earliest to the latest of Hill’s poetic writings; and makes extensive use of archival material. It steps beyond the ‘historical drama’ of language depicted in Matthew Sperling’s Visionary Philology (2014) and Alex Pestell’s Geoffrey Hill: The Drama of Reason (2016) and asserts that the drama in Hill’s poetry, seeking to transcend history, is constantly related to its end: not only its termination in time but its consummating purpose.





Hurley, Michael


Poetry, Twentieth-century Literature, Contemporary Literature, Puns, Rhyme, Syntax, Genre


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
The work was funded by Pembroke College, Cambridge.