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Geoffrey Hill, René Girard, and the Logic of Sacrifice

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Abstract According to René Girard, the logic of sacrifice is scapegoating, the logic of self-sacrifice is self-transcendency true or deviated. Ibsen completed his unfinished epic poem “Brand” by rewriting it as a dramatic poem; dramatization clarified the mutually complicit nature of Brand’s useless self-sacrifice to and by his community. Ibsen rewrote Brand with great speed and facility and, ten years later, perhaps with the lesson of Brand’s unnecessary self-sacrifice in mind, achieved that regularity of intense focus that produced a play every two years. Geoffrey Hill’s stage version completes the process of dramatizing Brand. By his own accounting in a 1979 interview Hill wrote his Brand with great speed and facility; ten years later, he began the current period of unrivalled periodic productivity.

Affiliations: 1: Michigan State University


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1. Foster R. F. W. B. Yeats: A Life Volume II: The Arch Poet 1915–1939 2003 Oxford Oxford University Press
2. Girard Rene Deceit, Desire and the Novel 1966 Baltimore MD The Johns Hopkins University Press
3. Haffenden John Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation with John Haffenden 1981 London Faber and Faber
4. Hill Geoffery Hynes Kenneth"“Language, Suffering, and Silence.”" Geoffrey Hill Collected Writings 2008 Oxford Oxford University Press
5. Hill Geoffery The Triumph of Love 1998 New York Houghton Mifflin
6. Ibsen Henrik Brand: A Version for the Stage by Geoffrey Hill 1981 Minneapolis MN University of Minnesota Press
7. Johnsen William A. Violence and Modernism: Ibsen, Joyce, and Woolf 2003 Gainesville FL University Press of Florida

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