Apologies for the messy formatting: I and Blogger don’t get on. Here’s a somewhat neater version.
Whitman thought of making a book: The Leaves of Grass which he, ah—course calling it, when he called himself ‘spontaneous warbler’, I mean it [?] was the least of—those of you who know that wonderful New York Library facsimile of the 19, of the 1861/’62 edition of his poems which he used as a kind of working notebook to redo the poems, which they’ve reproduced even down the little slivers of paper he tucked in, you know, will see how little of a spontaneous warbler he was; he was the most dogged of craftsmen. (Hill 2007 [a], 55.16–58)[i]
In 2005 Geoffrey Hill published his eleventh poetry book, which he has called ‘a largish booklet’ (Hill 2006 [a], track 31), in an edition of 400 copies with Clutag Press—a small publisher started in 2000 by poet, OUP literature editor and friend of Hill Andrew McNeillie—in whose series of ‘poetry pamphlets’, dating from 2004/5, A Treatise of Civil Power (power on the title page) came either first or third after John Fuller’s The Solitary Life and Seamus Heaney’s A Shiver (McNeillie, ‘Poetry Pamphlets’ and ‘About Clutag Press’). This unpaginated ‘booklet’ consists of eight poems, none of which had been published before the booklet appeared in February 2005. Of these eight, six were republished under the same titles (with minor typographic differences) in Penguin’s mid-2007 book A Treatise of Civil Power. One, ‘ON READING Hazlitt: Lectures on the English Comic Writers’, has not been republished to my knowledge.
The 2005 booklet’s eponymous long poem (it comprises 42 stanzas and ends with the phrase, ‘CETERA DESUNT’) presents the most interesting critical and textual case. In an arrangement which Paul Abbott has tabulated, eight of its stanzas reappear in the 2007 book:
‘The Minor Prophets’ – copy of stanza XV
‘Citations I’ – copy of stanzas IX and XL
‘Citations II’ – copy of stanzas XXV and XXVII
‘Harmonia Sacra’ – indebted to stanza XXXVII
‘An Emblem’ – copy of stanza XIX
‘Before Senility’ – copy of stanza XLII.
That is, Hill took single stanzas and pairs of stanzas from the long poem of 2005, and recycled them as lyrics appearing on separate pages and under their own titles in the 2007 Penguin book. (I note that Abbott’s ‘copy of’ and ‘indebted to’ are inaccurate; the ways in which they are inaccurate will be discussed above.) One further complication is that, in the approximately two years which elapsed between the publication of the Clutag booklet and the Penguin book, Hill published (as well as his twelfth original collection, Without Title, in 2006) some poems from both, and some that appear only in the 2007 book, in magazines. These are as follows:
‘After Reading Children of Albion (1969)’, ‘Holbein’, ‘Integer Vitae’, ‘Masques’, ‘Parallel Lives’, ‘A Précis or Memorandum of Civil Power’, Poetry 188.2 (May 2006)
‘In Memoriam: Gillian Rose’, Poetry 189.2 (December 2006)
‘G.F. Handel, Opus 6’, ‘Johannes Brahms, Opus 2’, ‘On Reading Crowds and Power’, ‘On Reading The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall’, ‘The Peacock at Alderton’, Poetry 189.5 (March 2007)
‘The Peacock at Alderton’, TLS (June 15 2007)
‘Holbein’, TLS (June 22 2007)
‘Before Senility’, TLS (July 6 2007)
‘Before Senility’, ‘Citations I’, The New Criterion 26.4 (December 2007).
Incidentally these are the poems, published in American magazines, which I have not been able to see (note that six of these were published after the Penguin book):
‘In Memoriam: Gillian Rose,’ Harper's Magazine (February 2007)
‘An Emblem’, ‘Lyric Fragment’, ‘Nachwort’, Harper's Magazine (December 2007)
‘Coda’, The New Criterion 26.4 (December 2007).
My information for these lists is from the two Hill bibliographies available online, at Sylvia Paul’s website and Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec’s blog. Finally, the translation (of Anne Hébert’s ‘Les Offensés’) published as ‘The Oath’ in the Penguin A Treatise appeared as ‘Song Contest’ in Houghton Mifflin’s 1994 New & Collected Poems, and before that in Agenda (15.4, winter 1977–8[ii]) as ‘Homo Homini Lupus’.
Both editions of A Treatise of Civil Power, and Without Title, the collection that divides them in Hill’s bibliography, continue a phase of his career, beginning with Canaan (1996), that could with justification be called ‘late’:
[…] probably in the last few years I’ve begun to look at it a bit like that, but I mean my whole, er, the whole impetus and, er, movement of my writing has changed so much in the last twenty years; I used to bring a book out painfully about every ten years—my early books were separated by about ten. (Hill 2007 [a], 54.35–59)
In the London Review Bookshop recording this closely precedes the passage I have quoted as epigraph, and is in partial answer to a question about whether Hill thinks of his ‘life’s work’ as a ‘single work’. Tim Kendall picks up on the theme:
‘Nachwort’, the short afterword to Geoffrey Hill's new collection A Treatise of Civil Power, explains the difference between its author’s early and late styles as the result of dwindling ‘patience’: the poet who once impelled ‘the stubborn line, / the line that is that quickens to delay’ is now hurried by the urge to ‘unmake / all wrought finalities’ and become ‘a babbler / in the crowd’s face’. Babblers are nothing if not prolific. (Kendall, 1)
So Hill, born 1932, is restless before death. Unless impatience can be a wrought finality (I am not sure), though, this restless character is precisely why it is a mistake to clay together these seven or eight books after The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy. As Robert Macfarlane (241) writes, ‘Considered together, these books possess not so much a late style as late styles: the intense pentecostal forms of the first epoch give way to a prosodic restlessness.’ One could just as well classify them as either ‘late’ or ‘post-late’, with ‘late’ starting its transition at The Orchards of Syon (2002) and finishing in Scenes From Comus (2005): but still this is inadequate, because A Treatise is not simply comparable to Scenes From Comus and Without Title, and about half of it was published in the same year as Scenes. Wherein the importance of A Treatise: for since we have two editions of the same book, and Hill elsewhere in that answer from which I have already quoted does say, ‘I think I still think in terms of making books, not necessarily just sort of throwing off an individual poem’, it is possible as at no time until the scholarly graft is done with whatever manuscripts Hill preserves to compare full work to full work—to track revisions in context of a book. The opportunity is not quite unique in terms of the whole career, given the versions from Canaan that appeared in the 1994 New & Collected and the many contributions to magazines (principal among which is Péguy in the TLS) made since the poet’s time at Bromsgrove High School, and ignoring the critical prose; but in terms of the ‘late’ career it is. With this judgement as impetus I have performed a collation of the Clutag with the Penguin book, and of those magazine poems which I could locate with their ‘official’ versions. The differences I found go from single punctuation marks to full stanzas (‘Coda’, for example’, shrinks between books from eight to six), and some are so trivial as to be indices perhaps of a house style (the hyphen in ‘cross-section’): in response to the sceptical question, ‘How much and in nature what can the differences tell us?’ I refer the reader back to my epigraph and forward to this survey.
See all as miracle, a natural graft,
as mistletoe ravelling the winter boughs
with nests that shine. And some recensions
better than thát I should hope. (Hill 2006 [b], 209)
Comparisons build tautologies yet again. (Hill 2006 [c], 62)
In the 2005 issue of Stand that memorialised Ken Smith, Hill published ‘Of Carnal Policy’, a poem of two sections that would in 2006 become the ‘Ars’ of Without Title. The changes evident could fall into two broad categories: very simply, small and large. In the second stanza a few words are swapped about:
Don’t lay destructive charge if you’ve been booked
To confess mayhem plead ornate regard.
Ciceronian conclusions, iron resolve. (Hill 2005 [a], 9)
Don’t lay destructive charge if you were booked
To confess mayhem plead ornate regard.
Ciceronian conclusions, fixed resolve. (Hill 2006 [c], 62)
The reason for ‘you were booked’ seems clear: the tense agrees better with ‘Don’t lay’. And perhaps ‘fixed’, its alternative sense of ‘rigged’ unbalancing the cliché, mocks more sharply than straight ‘iron’ (I assume of course that ‘iron’ is not here an imperative verb like ‘plead’). In any case the changes are minor such that critical comment may very swiftly devolve into entrail-reading. When evidence is little, interpretation is large—as Shakespeare’s biographies prove. Revisions of this kind make a thin source for criticism.
But following that stanza we have:
Name paradox inertia’s coup de foudre,
its echo-pôt to belch
Delete be bold for an anomaly –
Carthage her well rubbed wounds.
Not everything’s a joke but we’ve been had. (Hill 2005 [a], 9)
Style paradox inertia’s mobile face
for the duration. It has been thought
expedient to have us curse and weep
with the same countenance as one inspired.
Delete delenda est – exemplary
Carthage her rubbed-in wounds.
Not everything’s a joke but we’ve been had. (Hill 2006 [c], 62)
First I should admit that I don’t know what ‘echo-pôt’ means; neither does the OED. (It is probably French like ‘coup de foudre’.) Second, it’s immediately clear that alterations like these offer more to criticism than, say, ‘iron’ to ‘fixed’ can. Hill’s changes to ‘Delete […] wounds’ bespeak a conscious tightening up: ‘rubbed-in’ remakes the allusion to the Roman army’s salting Carthage’s fields in the image of the cliché ‘to rub salt in the wound’ (whose contracted form is ‘to rub it in’) and in the negative of the classroom verb ‘to rub out’; ‘Delete be bold for an anomaly’ is unwontedly simplistic (or ambiguous in a wheezy cruciverbal way), and rather seems clumsily to lose hold of its meaning than tensely to suspend it—a case for Hill of what ‘Zürich, Zum Storchen’ by Paul Celan (178) calls ‘der Trübung durch Helles’. This tightening enables us to link with greater certainty to ‘Ars’, previously ‘Of Carnal Policy’, the following remark from the 2005 recording:
That’s really my ars poetica—‘and of our covenants with language / contra tyrannos [quoting ‘The Argument of the Masque’ 1, Hill 2005 (b), 3]’—that anybody who writes seriously is entering into a covenant with language ‘contra tyrannos’, against the tyrants. (Hill 2007 [a], 8.54–9.10)
That substitute line ‘Delete delenda est – exemplary’ is curious for another reason. Not only does ‘exemplary’ almost replace ‘anomaly’ in sound, the whole line reprises ‘echo-pôt to belch / fundamental’ with its vowel riff ‘delenda est – exemplary’.[iii] And it is the changes to the first stanza here that may represent my second broad category. The lines about paradox, not merely honed, are rethought. Specifically, ‘Name’ becoming ‘Style’ and ‘coup de foudre’ ‘mobile face / for the duration’, they are weakened, or made subtler. With ‘It has been thought’ the point is rounded to example, producing a rich source for criticism, for which entrail-reading remains a risk but which in virtue of the changes’ variety gives fuller scope both for interpretation and for its falsification by sceptics.
Now the assemblage of evidence. It will necessarily take a lot of space. These are the revisions, discovered by comparison, that I took to be ‘rich’ sources:[iv] in ‘On Reading Milton and the English Revolution’, ‘England / can do without most of us. For us / now language is master’ has become ‘[…] For us / also language is a part-broken league’ and ‘Sibylline interdict spells blunder— resign! / Seraphs prophesy strange wealth to the finder [of, presumably, regret’s “target”]’, ‘[…] blunder – resign! – / though resignation itself proclaims the finder.’ ‘This not quite knowing what the earth requires: / earthiness, or our ethereal rapine’ from poem IX of the 42-stanza ‘A Treatise of Civil Power’ becomes, in ‘Citations I’, ‘[…] requires: / earthiness, earthliness, or things ethereal;’. In the second stanza of ‘Citations I’, ‘No working transition — I’d assay to claim / the poem as at once cruder and finer. / Semiotics carry their own weight’ from ‘Treatise’ XL appears later as, ‘No decent modicum, agreed. I’d claim / the actual is at once cruder and finer, / without fuss carrying its own weight.’ Then in ‘Citations II’, ‘I’d argue in turn that atrophy’s not the word / but that invention reinvents itself / every so often in the way of death’ from XXV becomes ‘I’d swear myself blind atrophy’s not the word […] in the line of death’, and,
Or if not why not? Is writing nothing
but self-indemnity for what is refused it?
Yes, to be blunt; the unending tug between
syntax and sentiment — I can hardly bear this.
For yes read possibly […]
from XXVII becomes, ‘[…] not: call writing […] for what is denied it? / Yes, to be blunt, the pitiless wrench between / truth and metre, though you can scarcely hear this.’ XLII’s ‘I show you the ownerless, serene, eighteenth- / century tombstones set about like ashlar; / I give you the great, storm-severed head / of a sunflower […]’ becomes in ‘Before Senility’, ‘to measure the ownerless, worn, eighteenth- / century tombstones realigned like ashlar; / encompass the stark storm-severed head / of a sunflower […]’. ‘[T]he incumbent sonorities / let us hear them passing’ in ‘Johannes Brahms, Opus 6’ as published by Poetry becomes ‘the incumbent sonorities / let us rehearse their passing’. And in ‘The Peacock at Alderton’, one of the few poems of which I’ve seen three dissimilar versions (in Poetry and the TLS as well as the Penguin book), it’s possible to track the evolution of the phrase, ‘his lambent cloak stark as a warlock’s cape,’ (Poetry, March 2007) to ‘his fulgent cloak stark as a warlock’s cape’ (TLS, June 2007) and lastly to, ‘his fulgent cloak a gathering of the dark’.
I have left out only the two most significant examples of sustained revision: that of ‘A Treatise of Civil Power’, which is simply or not so simply one of the withdrawal of 36 stanzas, and that of ‘Coda’. ‘Coda’ appears in 2007 more substantially revised than any poem in the Treatise set.[v] The revisions are so comprehensive I have to present them on a separate page. But they align well enough with the nature of those listed below, which manifests itself, I think, as a contest between two registers—or better a to-and-fro on the continuum sliding from prophecy to conversation; taut and loose. The Clutag Treatise being a small edition addresses the reader differently, and its re-presented form in the Penguin book is suggestive of self-censorship. Take a single changed word from ‘Citations II’, ‘refused’ becoming ‘denied’: the words are close in sense but a distinction can be made. Refusal carries stronger implication of agency than denial. It’s as though in the first line writing asks and is rebuffed, and in the second writing subsists within rebuff’s given perimeter. In many instances the 2005 wording seems more honest and personally immediate, but less careful. Watch how that line from ‘A Peacock’ becomes in stages more crafted and poetical; how ‘I give you’ and ‘I show you’ become ‘to measure’ and ‘encompass the stark’ (‘Before Senility’), both of which actions it seems are performed by an ‘Intermezzo of sorts’, something that might also be a ‘figment / of gratitude and reconciliation […]’; how in ‘Citations I’ the blunt ‘ethereal rapine’ is sweetened to ‘earthliness, or things ethereal’; how the plain ‘way’ becomes a pun, ‘line’ (‘Citations II’); how the self-accusing, exhausted ‘sentiment — I can hardly bear this’ on revision sounds disquisitional and perhaps dismissive (as: ‘oh, you can’t hear it’); how ‘This is about as basic as you get, / the verse, I mean’ is in the 2007 ‘Coda’, ‘This is as formal as a curse or cry, / the verse, I mean’, ‘my bare threnos’ the depersonalised ‘some hammered threnos’ and ‘wicked’ merely ‘damn-fool’. Indeed, witness in ‘A Treatise of Civil Power’ the refinement or repudiation of a discursive, self-mocking, contradictory, doubting, embattled and great poem, which becomes, for the ‘crowd’s face’, a string of rather introverted lyrics.[vi] That last, always already unsatisfied ‘Urge’ of which ‘Nachwort’ speaks is clearly as symbolic as the poem’s position in the book: what ‘finality’ is better ‘wrought’ than the bottom of a final page?
At a conference this summer in Oxford, during an interview with Rowan Williams, Hill railed for minutes against the internet, for its ‘velocity’ and—though I did attend I quote from another’s notes—the destruction of criticism that entails.[vii] This is the fogeyish side of Hill that is transmuted in the poems in monologic dramas of uncertainty and weakness (‘I know that sounds / a damn-fool thing to say’ is amongst else a confession) and by self-attentive language. Ed Reiss asked Hill whether he saw grounds for optimism. His answer was, ‘Yes! Rowan Williams is the Archbishop of Canterbury and I am writing better than ever.’ This, I venture, is Hill’s fogeyish and puckish side that believes contemporary England to be ‘more and more of an authoritarian plutocratic anarchy’ (Hill 2007 [a], 2.09–13)—which three descriptions lose plausibility as the eye moves right.[viii] This ‘puckish’ Hill once commenced a speech with: ‘This [Western Thought] is the kind of topic I would prefer to approach somewhat obliquely—to get in a glancing blow and be away before it can hit back. But I lack the élan of youth’ (2000, 72); who once fulfilled a request for the summation, at a valedictory dinner, of a life in poetry with the words: ‘Poetry makes or breaks. I am a broken man’ (Christopher Ricks, conversation).
But is it ‘puckish’? Or is it sincere and yet aware of the irrelevance of that, saying so with tragic irony? Do we hear in the concessive quietude of the sentences that Hill of ‘I fear to wander in unbroken darkness’, that plainspoken Hill of
Except in thís one craft he [ie Hill] shows himself
open to a fault, shaken by others’ weeping;
duty’s memorialist ǀ for the known-unknown
servants of Empire – for such unburied:
the spirit’s gift upheld, impenetrable,
the bone-cage speared by lilies of the veldt. (Hill 2006 [b], 220)
It’s a heroic story: shaken poet, duty’s memorialist, the spirit’s gift and the bone-cage. Do we not furthermore see in this movement something of the Treatises’ shifting registers? For instance as ‘the poem’ becomes ‘the actual’ in ‘Citations 1’, as ‘Say then I saw how much is emptiness’ becomes ‘End that I saw how much is gift-entailed’ in ‘Coda’, so ‘himself / open to a fault’ becomes ‘duty’s memorialist’ and upholds ‘the spirit’s gift’ penetrated-unpenetrated by flowers. At the Keble conference Hill said in a calmer moment that F. H. Bradley’s word ‘somehow’ (meditated at length in ‘Word Value in F. H. Bradley and T. S. Eliot’) signals the epiphanic final moment of a poem: ‘a great poem is an annunciation or epiphany.’ I’d stress that an epiphany has to come from somewhere. If in poetry you want to generate epiphanies, you have to stage the prior darkness and doubt, to begin with the unlit and empty proscenium. A figurative ‘showing’ needs a figurative blindness. Thus the rallying from ‘Inconstant even in this the dead / heart of the matter: laughter ǀ no joy’ (this poem’s first lines) to ‘the spirit’s gift upheld, impenetrable [we can imagine “somehow” here]’, from misgiving to hope and doubt to faith, manifests itself stylistically in the difference between plain ‘emptiness’ and the oblique ‘gift-entailed’, or between language as ‘master’ and just that or as ‘part-broken league’. Between
If it’s a fact of shaping, of getting shipshape,
this will barely hold. Call it coda or something.
Fix history to it. I can always say
I want my bought time with her, her being Clio;
cashing in a Welsh iron-puddler’s portion, his
penny a week insurance cum burial fund,
so I can splurge hurt in a few pages
of cherished but maladjusted mourning jokes.
If it’s the brunt of years and luck turned savage
this is our last call, difficult coda
to the facility, the bane of speech,
a taint of richesse in the haggard seasons,
withdrawing a Welsh iron-puddler’s portion, his
penny a week insurance cum burial fund,
cashing in pain itself, stark induration,
something saved for, brought home, stuck on the mantel […]
I hope the distinction is audible. Perhaps the first stanza sounds ‘drafty’, and what I have discussed is merely an artefact of the writing process. The writer himself has said, however, that he is ‘trying to write with a kind of ecstatic commonplaceness’ (Hill 2007 [a], 9.27–31). I suggest that the commonplace and the ‘ecstatic’ are what we see in tension in Hill’s revisions and whose tension we see producing Hill’s epiphanies. The 2005 A Treatise constituted after The Orchards of Syon a subtle exploratory move toward the commonplace that was genuinely new. Even if the end is always epiphany, I would argue the Clutag booklet provided the sorts of epiphanies that rely on a large proportion in the poem of commonplace language (the pieces on reading are good examples, but the long ‘A Treatise’ is the central one), and demand less of the ecstasy we find and may relish in ‘a sunflower blazing in mire of hail’[ix] or ‘songs of reft joy upon another planet’ or ‘what proclaimed him was the wake of Troy’. My survey has indicated to me that the textual revisions setting apart the Clutag and the Penguin Treatises amount to an omission to reassert this move at the commonplace. Hill excerpted many ecstasies from ‘A Treatise of Civil Power’ for the 2007 book and replaced the stanzas he discarded with a poem, ‘A Précis or Memorandum of Civil Power’, that recalls the compacted ne plus ultra of Canaan, albeit with phrases of disjointed conversation. Such reversions to ecstasy, which I interpret as losses of nerve, are a reminder that beneath or even undergirding Hill’s profound self-reinvention is only a continuity of dogged craftsmanship, of craftsmanship to a fault:
For the unfallen – the firstborn, or wise
Councillor – prepared vistas extend
As far as harvest; and idyllic death
Where fish at dawn ignite the powdery lake. (Hill 2006 [b], 22)
These, the last lines of ‘To the (Supposed) Patron’, the last poem of Hill’s first book, swell epiphanic in cadence but mine themselves with checks: ‘vistas’ are ‘prepared’ and ‘death’ is ‘idyllic’ so that ‘ignite’ is ominous and gorgeous at once. In the language common death is made idyllic and vistas made common. It is a self-snuffing epiphany, even to its elliptical grammar (‘For the unfallen […] idyllic death [extends] / Where fish […]’). In the late career the components are distilled out rather than blended in phrasal shots, so progression (‘shaken […] upheld’) can be more basically formal, though it reveals the same will. I am aware that my brief post has achieved little beyond hypothesis and speculation: more work for instance would be required to establish the textual point, while I have argued the variants are rich sources to demonstrate more fully that Hill’s alterations are not writerly housekeeping, routine tinkering or tarting up. Indeed it’s possible my allegation of a loss of nerve is mistaken too, for Hill may well have concluded that a 42-stanza long poem was not the best venue for the commonplace. I could not refute you if you claimed the Treatise set was a move toward the commonplace—was another, softer transition (think how obliquely Scenes handled autobiography)—but that between ’05 and ’07 Hill changed his mind about how to do it. (And on a bathetic note, from a friend I have heard a rumour that Hill cut up 2005’s ‘A Treatise’ at his wife’s behest.) One oughtn’t forget that a reader’s uncertainty can be symptomatic of a poet’s indecision. But the governing propositions about Hill’s affinity (in terms of technique) for the epiphanic seesaw and about its significance for the later poetry I am as confident of as I am confident I catch Hill’s prosodic signature in John Dryden’s ‘Oh for a commodious / Drabb betwixt ’em!’ (Troilus and Cressida III. i[x]), in Mitch Cohen’s translation (Hofmann, 180) of Jürgen Theobaldy’s ‘My Young Life’ (my italics):
Below wind-down gradually the songs
of the working class, the red flags
disappear in the crowd, and
the union leaders look at their watches.
and in James Schuyler’s (Ford, 180; note the late-Hillish imperatives)
[…] the cue ball
Carom and the struck ball pocketed. Skill. And still the untutored
Rain comes down. Open the door. Press your face into the
Wet April chill: a life mask.
That is I am confident on grounds that are intrinsically hard to make explicit. Explication in its literal sense is the academic mode. Perhaps if you have heard the signature of Hill in these quotations you will have consented as well to my speculations below. About the poor decision to chop ‘A Treatise’ into confetti and featherlight lyrics I doubt scholars will in future be certain. And there is so much scholarly work to be done! The land is wild with neglect. Apt scholarship—the bibliographical and textual drudgery—is what is wanted for the coming period of Hill studies. If I must take my leave it is because I cannot take part; because mine is the species of inquiry that hears and wants to define what is so Miltonic, beyond the fact of iambs, about the sensation of this prose and how its Miltonism is like and not like how the quoted lines are like Hill:
Satan having compast the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by Night into Paradise, […] Adam consents not, alledging the danger, lest that Enemy, of whom they were forewarn’d, should attempt her found alone: (Milton, 216)
2008 (rev. 2010)
[iii] This could well be mistaken: my Latin is nonexistent.
[iv] Among which, I accept, are a few examples that stand incongruously with my argument.
[v] As noted below, I have not seen the version published after the Penguin book with The New Criterion.
[vi] One recalls C. S. Lewis’s (2) remark: ‘Of the continuity of a long narrative poem, the subordination of the line to the paragraph and the paragraph to the Book and even of the Book to the whole, of the grand sweeping effects that take a quarter of an hour to develop themselves, [the lyric reader] has had no conception.’
[vii] Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec’s notes, which I copy and paste from Facebook, read: ‘RW: What about time, the time to read and understand and make criticism? // GH: Velocity is increasing exponentially and will destroy memory. Computer technology is a velocity thing: a plethora of information speedily applied will destroy criticism.’
[viii] In 2008 this seemed clever. I don’t now perceive the implausibility of the first two (on which the third is a quibble).