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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry



The Mystery of the Charity
of Charles Péguy


by
Geoffrey Hill


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy



Title: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy
Author: Geoffrey Hill
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1983
Length: 36 pages
Availability: The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy - US
. also: in New & Collected Poems, 1952-1992 - US
. in: Collected Poems - UK
. in: New & Collected Poems, 1952-1992 - Canada

N o t e :


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Our Assessment:

B+ : an excellent poem, richly expounding on a single historical event

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Yale Review A Fall/1984 John Hollander
Please also refer to reviews for New and Collected Poems.

  From the Reviews:
  • "This is a passionate and controlled elegy for a major mode of heroic poetry and for the celebration of active ideals." - John Hollander, The Yale Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Unlike his earlier collections, this volume is devoted almost entirely to a single, expansive poem. Asking "Did Péguy kill Jaurès ? Did he incite / the assassin ?" Hill spins out a cycle that deals with questions of politics, history, religion, and the role of the artist and the individual in shaping the events of that time. Hill uses World War I and its horrors here, writing in part with great historical specificity, but as always his concerns are larger ones -- and as usual he conveys them well.
       It is a very powerful poem, a sustained forceful effort that engages the reader. It is also very complex, and readers without sufficient familiarity with the historical context might not be able to find it rewarding. (If you can identify Péguy and Jaurès you should be able to work your way through without too much difficulty, otherwise -- be wary !)

       N O T E that this poem is included in Hill's New and Collected Poems, 1952-1992, and while there is an argument to having it separate, the New and Collected volume is a better bargain

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Links:

Reviews: Charles Péguy:
  • Useful background information on Charles Péguy from Crisis Online
Geoffrey Hill: Other Books by Geoffrey Hill under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See also the index of Poetry under review

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About the Author:

       English poet Geoffrey Hill was born in 1932. A graduate of Keble College, Oxford, he has taught at the University of Leeds, at Cambridge, and at Boston University.

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