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The cut of that young fellow’s jib

March 20, 2017

Even I, by nature a timid conformist lower-second if ever there was one, gained my skin-of-the-teeth first in 1953 by telling a member of the viva committee that he was completely wrong about the last two stanzas of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale and demonstrating his error by effective off-the-cuff quotation. Tolkien, who chaired, was said to have observed as the door closed behind me, “I rather like the cut of that young fellow’s jib!”

–Geoffrey Hill, “I know thee not, old man, fall to thy prayers”

Three names I would not have expected to see together.

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