Geoffrey Hill Archive

Scope and Content

This collection represents the archives of the poet Geoffrey Hill. The archive comprises items relating to Hill's poetry from the late 1940s to his 2007 collection A Treatise of Civil Power, in addition to items relating to his critical work and his teaching career. This includes manuscript and typescript drafts of poems, and papers relating to the publication of Hill's poetry collections including proofs and correspondence with publishers. Comprises: Literary papers of Geoffrey Hill relating to several of his publications, including 'Tenebrae' (1978) and Hill's collaboration with James Brown on the cantata 'Ad incensum lucernae' (ca. 1974-1975), and 'Collected poems' (1985), with several sets of uncorrected proofs of the 'Collected poems' and several copies of the cover design for the published work; Copies of reviews of Hill's poetry and critical works, notably from the 'New Statesman' and 'The Listener', dating between 1959 and 1971; Photocopied typescript of an interview with Geoffrey Hill conducted by John Haffenden, ca. 1980, with autograph manuscript revisions, later published in 'Viewpoints: poets in conversation with John Haffenden', 1981; Autograph manuscript and typescript correspondence between Hill amd correspondents including Robin Robertson and William Cookson (ca. 1965-1988); 2 early autograph ms letters from Hill, one from Oxford (ca. 1954), the other titled 'Pensees' (ca. 1952); Printed extracts from Bromsgrove County High School magazine relating to Geoffrey Hill, with some ms; notebooks containing poem drafts and workings and background research; papers relating to Hill's adaptation of Ibsen's Brand and its publication; papers relating to Hill's critical works and major lectures; papers relating to Hill's teaching career at the University of Leeds, the University of Cambridge and Boston University, including lectures and class materials; correspondence with publishers, universities and academic colleagues, friends and associates, annotations (by the donor).

Administrative / Biographical History

Geoffrey Hill, the poet, was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire in 1932. After teaching for many years at the universities of Leeds and Cambridge, he moved to the United States in 1988 to fulfil the duties of Professor of Literature and Religion at Boston University. His volumes of poetry have received critical acclaim and was been awarded numerous honours and prizes, including the Hawthornden Prize in 1969 and the Whitbread Award in 1971. In 1996 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He retired in 2006. Hill died on 30th June 2016. See also:


The collection is arranged into the following subfonds (sub-collections): Poetry Collections Poetry Notebooks and Other Poem Drafts Brand Lectures and Critical Writing Teaching and Related Materials Correspondence Audio-Visual Items Personalia and Miscellanea.

Access Information

This collection is subject to various access conditions. Please see individual catalogue descriptions for further details on access.

Acquisition Information

The majority of the Geoffrey Hill Archive was purchased from Geoffrey Hill in February 2009. Papers relating to the cantata Ad Incensum Lucernae (Brotherton Collection MS 20c Hill/1/6/1) were deposited by the author. A number of items in the Geoffrey Hill Archive were purchased from Gekoski in August 1988. Where this is the case, information is provided at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography is strictly prohibited. Photocopying is restricted and the photocopying of correspondence is prohibited. Enquiries relating to the photocopying of material should be addressed to the Head of Special Collections at Leeds University Library in the first instance. Direct quotation from manuscripts by Geoffrey Hill is permitted in unpublished PhD theses. The permission of the copyright holder must be sought for the use of quotations from manuscripts by Geoffrey Hill for works intended for publication.

Related Material

Correspondence and other items relating to Geoffrey Hill's work can also be found at the following locations:
- Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Jane Kenyon Papers, 1961-2000, MC 164, containing manuscript of The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy.
- Special Collections, McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa, Richard Ellmann Papers Series I: Research Files, containing correspondence from Geoffrey Hill.
- University of Auckland Library,Kendrick Smithyman Special Collection, containing one letter from Geoffrey Hill to Kendrick Smithyman (n.d.).Copies of works by Geoffrey Hill and/or including poems or essays by him were acquired with the purchase of the Geoffrey Hill Archive, and are held as part of the Brotherton Collection (Brotherton Collection 20c Hill).120 printed books and pamphlets relating to Geoffrey Hill are shelved with the archival collection, and were acquired by purchase from Gekoski.Items relating to Geoffrey Hill are also held in other collections at Leeds University Library, including:
- Geoffrey Hill reading poems from For the Unfallen (Poetry Room Recording), MS 1720/2/T13

Book collection at Leeds Special Collections: Geoffrey Hill (Brotherton Collection)