Though the fact is often overlooked, Hill is a Christian with a profound understanding of theological thought, and like Ernest Hemingway’s priest in A Farewell to Arms (1929), he knows that it is through suffering, through defeat, that humans become Christian and ultimately persevere as Christians. On that note, Hill’s primary function in The Triumph of Love is to promote human endurance, to declare (in a very mystical manner) that love always—even when the most bestial acts are being committed—conquers evil.
Hill is deeply concerned with exultation and mysticism, and he heartily identifies with writers such as Saint Augustine, John Milton, and William Blake, wildly exuberant and mystical figures who also confront notions of redemptive faith. Hill’s Christianity is evident in his understanding of justice, judgment, and forgiveness. He writes: “To know all/ is to forgive all.” Significantly, Hill’s concept of sympathy stems from his understanding of forgiveness. He states that Christians must be engaged, that they must suffer, and that they must, at their core, be sympathetic to those who mourn instead of angry at the aggressors. In this manner, Hill acknowledges that humans must have “daily acknowledgement/ of what is owed the dead.” This is a sentiment that ties him to other Christian writers whom he greatly admires: Charles Péguy, Georges Bernanos, Saint-John Perse, and Paul Claudel.
At one point in...
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