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Light Falling on England: History and Landscape in the Poetry of C. H. Sisson

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The defining characteristic of the poetry of C. H. Sisson (1914–2003) may be its complex understanding of time. Pervading his work is an incessant fascination with the history and landscape of England that hinges on a non-linear theory of time. Sisson imagines events past and present swirling together in eddies of dislocated English history. He associates the English landscape not only with a past still vibrantly alive but with moral virtue as well. A profound commitment to Anglicanism and monarchism also notably marks his poetry. Sisson's attention to the history and landscape of England substantiates and justifies his commitments to church and crown. This Drydenesque Toryism, rooted in the landscape of his poetic imagination, enables him to conceptualize time as an undisrupted flow in which history and the present merge seamlessly and offer comfort against an uncertain future. The poetry of C. H. Sisson is the poetry of hope, amid the desolation of the present, located in the living history of the past.

Affiliations: 1: Baylor University


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