The Gerard Manley Hopkins Archive, a free resource for everybody, contains lectures on: Hopkins and Newman; the Church in the juvenile poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins; Gerard Manley Hopkins, Aubrey DeVere, and Considerations on New Historicism; Gerard Manley Hopkins's Misdirected Faith; On the Road with Gerard Manley Hopkins.
While Newman was on holiday in Switzerland during August and early September 1866, the young undergraduate Hopkins wrote hesitantly to him at the Birmingham Oratory on August 28, asking if he might intrude on the great man, rightly assuming that he was very busy and that he was 'much exposed to applications from all sides'. (1) What Hopkins did not know was that less than a month before while visiting Glion Newman had at last realized where he must begin the argument of what was to become his philosophical magnum opus, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (1870) ...
Although much - and from different angles - has been written about G.M. Hopkins's priesthood, far too little attention has been paid to the depiction of the Church he strove to build also in his poems. Despite the many building blocks he left for the critics to work with, he still has no church he could truly belong to, and failed thus even by his poetic heaven-haven, he is still exposed to the fate of the 'fortune's football'. Hence, in an attempt to make up for this rather disrespectful gap in Hopkins's scholarship, and, simultaneously, to put an end to the paradoxical homelessness of the priest poet, this essay will concern itself with reconstructing, from the textual evidence available, the image of the church he evoked in his poems. As, however, the is a very complex topic, it is my intention to focus on the least known of Hopkins's works, his juvenilia. . .
I have it on good authority from someone I live with in Philadelphia that Hopkins enjoyed both the language of play and the play of language. The linguistic arabesques and interlocking configuration of images in "Dun's Scotus's Oxford" - such as "Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmed, lark-charmèd, rook-rackèd, river-rounded"- are, to cite but one example of such language, traps for poetic meditation. Who among us can easily but his or her arms around this language, to find epistemological connections that are grounded metaphysically in things as they are or things as we know them? . . .
Viewed from the perspective of a non-believer, Gerard Manley Hopkins's unfortunate religious obsession seems responsible for the suppression of one of literary history's great poetic talents and as likely for his early death. That Hopkins is best known and most frequently anthologized for religious poems like "Pied Beauty," is an unfortunate irony, for it is as likely that his true religion and greatest gift-poetry itself-was seriously damaged and at times completely suppressed by his misdirected zeal for God . . .
Hopkins is famously known as a difficult poet, even a "heavy" poet, and in truth, he is heavy in content, heavy in style, and heavy in sound. The scholar James Milroy, in his book The Language of Gerard Manley Hopkins , notes the poet's "dense verbal structure," and in print I've called his texture "granitic" and his density "hard as granite." Today, by way of contrast, I consider a different side of Hopkins, a side much less noticed: his "lightness." I offer my comments in three parts: (I) confirming Hopkins' heaviness, (II) defining "lightness," and (III) establishing Hopkins' lightness . . .
Margaret Johnson in her essay, "These Things were There," says of Hopkins' poetry, "How can I deal with poetry that sees, even in apparent absence, the perpetual presence of God" (71). How indeed! It is a challenge.
In the "Wreck of the Deutschland" the first poem after the seven year silence, the poet tells of God's ways with him and then turns to the story of the sinking ship itself In the picture of tempest and terror, he tells of the tall nun standing on the deck and crying "Christ, Christ come quickly!" He is moved by her courage and her eagerness to meet Christ ...
Faather Hopkins SJ on Retreat || Elizabeth Bishop and Hopkins Poetry || Aubrey de Vere and Gerard Manley Hopkins || Patrick Kavanagh and Gerard Manley Hopkins | | Communion of Saints in Hopkins Poetry || Saint Patricks Breastplate || Place of Church in Hopkins Juvenile Poems || Cardinal Newman and GM Hopkins || Hopkins Misdirected Faith || Father Hopkins SJ the Priest ||