I've got a copy of Exiles by Ron Hansen ordered in at Barnes and Noble because it is a novel about Hopkins and the writing of The Wreck of the Deutschland. Has anyone else heard of this book or read it yet? Was it any good? I haven't started it but am looking forward to it. This is what the cover looks like:
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This meditation on Hopkins is one of the best I've ever read, and I think that it expresses the feelings of those of us who see in him much more than your average English poet:
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I have a quote on the tip of my consciousness and I can't quite grasp it!!! Please let me know asap if this sounds familiar, I really need it, I can't use what I am thinking without appropriately referencing it:
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...always happening, always never happened...
Somehow this is floating around in my head and I need any clues I can get! Please! Any ideas?
Oct. 8 - Bright and beautiful day. Crests of snow could be seen on the mountains. Barraud and I walked over to Holywell and bathed at the well and returned very joyously. The sight of the water in the well as clear as glass, greenish like aquamarine, trembling at the surface with the force of the springs, and shaping out the five foils of the quite drew and held my eyes to it. Within a month or six weeks from this (I think Fr. di Pietro said) a young man from Liverpool, Arthur Kent (?) was cured of rupture / in the water. The strong unfailing flow of the water and the chain of cures from year to year all these centuries took hold of my mind with wonder at the bounty of God in one of His saints, the sensible thing so naturally and gracefully uttering the spiritual reason of its being (which is all in true keeping with the story of St. Winifred's death and recovery) and the spring in place leading back the thoughts by its spring in time to its spring in eternity: even now the stress and buoyancy and abundance of the water is before my eyes.
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Wells are centers of significance in Hopkins's elemental myth. I'm thinking of "Iversnaid" and "Penmaen Pool." I steady as a water in a well, to a poise, to a pane. As tumbled over rim in roundy wells. And the fragmentary play about St. Winifred's Well, with "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo" in it. What about wells? What do they mean in larger English / British legend? In Hopkins, they symbolize in a very clear way "the dearest freshness deep down things." They naturally and gracefully utter the spiritual reason of their being. The "spring in time" opens the eye to the "spring in eternity."
First, has anyone here read Walhout's "Send My Roots Rain: A Study of Religious Experience in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins" ? Has anyone worked with it? I wanted to explore it but wanted to get some feedback on his presentation of the stages of religious experience.
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Second, I have been wondering about something. Most of the scholars I've read, while they nod to the fact that Hopkins couldn't have KNOWN he was going to die in Ireland, really write as though he did. I mean, he'd been in ill health before, and there weren't signs that he was going to die young. For example, the letter to his mother a few weeks before he dies, and "To RB," the poem to Bridges written about 2 months before his death, are not that same deep melancholy as his Dark Sonnets. It isn't like he killed himself, so it seems strange to me that we can only look at the poems written leading up to his death and see how they almost direct his death, but we don't realize that HE wouldn't have seen them that way. They simply were. They were as agonized as can be, but they were only meant to be temporal. Their beauty comes in their singularity, and singularity within discipline was important to Hopkins, but they were not suicide notes. Or am I reading them wrong? Should they be seen as leading up towards a deep despair that Hopkins can't recover from? What is another interpretation of the end of Hopkins' life? (Just curious, wanting something to mull over while I maul some sermons and devotional writings.)
Hello. I've been on Livejournal a couple of years and never suspected this community existed. I'm currently a semester - or a Thesis, however you count time - from finishing my Masters in Religious Studies: Theology. I have a BA in English. For both my undergrad English thesis and my Masters thesis I have/am presenting on Hopkins. Undergrad, it was a lot of the usual poetry analysis and examination of the concept of grace and beauty in Hopkins' poetry. This time around, I am trying to incorporate some of his letters into my writing. I would like to specifically look at Hopkins as a Jesuit, Hopkins in the time of Darwin, Hopkins as Victorian, and somehow tie all of these together with strands of taking a few of his poems and looking at them via theological reflection. Good luck me, right? I just wanted to get a feel for who else was on this community and what everyone/anyone else does, where your Hopkins interest lies, or just about any random thing you want to tell me.
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Any decent amount of studying Hopkins will lead one to at least some understanding of what Inscape is (though their seem to be about 3 major schools of thought on the matter which don't exactly correlate, but oh well), but what the dash flab is instress? It doesn't seem like anyone in reality agrees on that! I suppose I have some sort of intimations of it, but the ability to explain it seems just beyond my grasp.
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(Also, for those who care, my JP is on the Wednesday after this one. Pray for Finbar.)
Oct 5  - A goldencrested wren had got into my room at night and circled round dazzled by the gaslight on the white cieling; when caught even and put out it would come in again. Ruffling the crest, which is mounted over the crown and eyes like beetlebrows, I smoothed and fingered the little orange and yellow feathers which are hidden in it. Next morning I found many of these about the room and enclosed them in a letter to Cyril on his wedding day.
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A goldencrested wren
So what about Hopkins' Franciscan affinities? Nor can foot feel being shod? Joy fall to thee, father Francis? And the canticle of creatures that is his poetic work. . .
This is not quite a fully formed question, so bear with me.
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Seamus Heaney, in his essay "The Fire I' The Flint", discusses Hopkins as an example of the Masculine, forging powers of poetry, as opposed to the femanine 'parthenogenic' power of the Romantics (Keats is his primary example). He quotes Hopkins as saying of Keats
"It is impossible not to feel with weariness how his verse is at every turn abandoning itself to an unmanly and enervating luxury. It appears too that he said something like 'O for a life of impressions rather than thoughts'...Nevertheless, I feel and see in him the beginnings of something opposite to this, of an interest in higher things, and of powerful and active thought...His mind had, as it seems to me, the distinctly masculine powers in abundance, his character the manly virtues, but while he gave himself up to dreaming and self-indulgence, of course they were in abeyance...but his genius would have taken to an austere utterance in art."
He seems to feel that Keats doesn't quite have control of his own poetry, and part of my question is 'should he?'
Also, Hopkins was always rewriting and editing his poems, and his allusions and internal rhyming, his many levels of meaning, and his wordplay are evidence of this. What does his love of the 'forged-feature say about his own poetry and poetic vision?
I can think of some constrasts between Hopkins and Wordsworth, another Romantic (and probably my favorite), that Wordsworth was very proud about not editing certain poems, Tintern Abbey for instance, and he was also, I believe, a terrible student, never taking his degree, despite being admired while at school for his singular brilliance. Hopkins on the otherhand, was very much influenced by his study of philosophy and theology, especially during his 7 years of silence, wherein his vision was made very precise.
Is he more inline with the Metaphysical Poets, with their conceits representing the Masculine power, than with the Romantics? Is it even possible for the poetic act to be divided in this way? Is Heaney just being silly?
Is "The Windhover" about Christ?
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This question was debated at the Hopkins conference last weekend. Opinions?
Members of this community might like to know that it was featured in a lecture given at this year's international Hopkins conference at Regis University. The paper was entitled "Of Readers and Bloggers: Hopkins on the Web."
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You may also be interested to hear that novelist Ron Hansen was, at the time of the conference, ten pages away from finishing his next novel, about Hopkins in Wales and the nuns of the Deutschland!
Paul Mariani is writing a biography of Hopkins that sounds very promising and will fill the need for a solid and sympathetic account of Hopkins's life. I gathered that Mariani is a poet himself - all the better!
New editions of Hopkins's Collected Works in eight volumes (1-2. Correspondence, 3. Journals, Diaries, and Notebooks, 4. Oxford Essays and Notes, 5. Sketches, Notes, and Studies, 6. Sermons and Spiritual Writings, 7. "Dublin Notebook," and 8. Poems) are underway! This is very exciting for those of us who hunger after used copies of some of these hard-to-find texts. (Also for those hoping to write dissertations or possibly books on the poet!)
Dr. Waterman-Ward, as usual, made me proud to be her student. She delivered a paper on "Loss and Gain at Oxford."
Katherine Phillips charmed us with a lecture on Hopkins and Spring at the Hopkins Banquet. And I have never heard Richard Austin give a better recitation of "The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air We Breathe." It was the Feast of the Annuciation, so that may have had something to do with it. . .
There were too many delightful papers to list here. But after the conference I thought it might be fun to join this community again and see if anyone else is interested in reviving the conversation here. (If folks from the Hopkins conference have wandered over to this site, we would be honored to have you join us!)
Hi, I have just joined this community and am hoping it to be a good resource in helping me with my knowledge of Hopkins and to plan my lessons.
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I am 26, a Victorian obsessive, sometimes I think I am a Victorian stuck somehow in the millenium. I start a Masters preparation course in January and will be beginning a Masters in Victorian Studies next October. My mission is to educate myself in all aspects of the Victorian era; literature, lifestyle etc and hopefully become a sort of Victorian Historian expert and teach at university level. I pride myself on my vast collection of books on just about almost everything on the VIctorian period.
I am a UK secondary school teacher and have been teaching students aged 11-16 for the past 4 years. I also tutor an A level student [aged 18] once a week. This very student is currently studying his work, and I cannot seem to find any online sources. I did find a really good site last week which helped me annotate 'God's Grandeur' brilliantly, but rather stupidly I forgot to bookmark it.
And so my quest for good background critical online sources brings me here. I have a book of all his poetry and prose with a good introduction but need some more detailed sources on specific poems to use in aid of historical context and generally for my own knowledge gap filling as I am new to his poetry. I am of course also seeking information in books but cannot afford to buy many atthe moment.
Any help appreciated, many thanks
I see there haven't been any posts here in a while, but in case anyone reads this, there's something I've never quite been able to figure out ever since I read about it. Hopkins invented two words (among many others) that had great significanse for him, inscape and instress. Can anyone explain to me what they mean?
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"In the 1930s Michael Roberts opened his enormously influential Faber Book of Modern Verse not with Hardy but Hardy's contemporary G.M. Hopkins, then all the rage for his sprung-rhythm and surrealistic-looking handling of imagery. Yet it is Hopkins who now seems to have faded into the Victorian background, to belong with the stained-glassed of Burne-Jones; while it is a shock to remember that Hardy was only three years younger than Swinburne. For all his peculiar turns of phrase and wrenchings of speech, Hardy hasn't dated like his Victorian contemporaries."
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David Wright, from the Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy, Penguin, 1978.
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My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.
O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew--
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all.
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
Aftercomers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene, a rural scene,
Sweet especial rural scene.
Duns Scotus's Oxford
Towery city and branchy between towers;
Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmed, lark-charmed, rook-racked, river-rounded;
The dapple-eared lily below thee; that country and town did
Once encounter in, here coped and poised powers.
Thou hast a base and brickish skirt there, sours
That neighbor-nature thy grey beauty is grounded
Best in; graceless growth, thou hast confounded
Rural rural keeping--folk, flocks, and flowers.
Yet ah! this air I gather and release
He lived on; these weeds and water, these walls are what
He haunted who of all men most sways my spirits to peace;
Of realty the rarest-veined unraveller; a not
Rivalled insight, be rival Italy or Greece;
Who fired France for Mary without spot.
"The magic of nature is always local." In class the other night, Dr. M. spoke about the second half of the Aeneid, the poem's farthest reach into the past, the magically present past, the world of untouched nature, pre-Roman Italy. Aeneas's presence, he said, progressively breaks the spell. Imperial Rome spelled destruction to local cultural traditions. Was it worth it?
Hopkins is grieving about a similar destruction in "Binsey Poplars." The rural scene has its own particular magic, its genius loci, too easily destroyed beyond temporal recovery. With his insistent repetition of the word "rural", Hopkins sides with the poplars, with the inscapes of the world, against the "graceless growth" of the industrial city.
But, there are two cities. Hopkins hated one--he loved the other. "Duns Scotus's Oxford" holds a portrait of the city he loved. Old Oxford beautifully balanced opposing urban and rural forces. The "base and brickish skirt" is as much an attack against the true city as it is against the rural scene. The city Hopkins loved transcended time, joining him in spiritual communion to Duns Scotus. It had its own magic to make present the past.
The industrial city, Imperial Rome, destroys this bridge between present and past. "Aftercomers cannot guess the beauty been." This is a matter for grief, a failure in stewardship, that one generation has devoured the heritage of the next, that future generations will look at the place where past generations encountered an inscape, and--when they look at that place it will be as if they were blind.
Sometimes it seems we have these odd mental blocks that prevent us from seeing the obvious.
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Whenever I used to read "No worst, there is none," I always mentally replaced "worst" with "worse," as if Hopkins were saying that he had hit rock bottom, that nothing could be worse than what he was experiencing. But recently I was looking at the poem again and I suddenly realised how odd it is to use the superlative here. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I only now realise that he meant that there was no limit to how bad things could get. I've read that an earlier draft of the poem began, "Worst! No worst, O there is none."
Then I remembered Edgar in King Lear, Act IV, Scene I:
And worse I may be yet; the worst is not
So long as we can say "This is the worst."
I was looking through some old files (paper file folders, that is), and I found some seminar notes I had made for my Hopkins course in university, back in '94. Because they're quite brief, I've decided to post them here, in an edited version. It refers to "God's Grandeur". The first part dealt with the different possible meanings of words in the poem.
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I ask anyone who looks through it to overlook the fragmentary nature of it.
This may be an opportunity to generate some discussion.
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Now we must praise heaven-kingdom's Guardian,
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The Measurer's might and his mind-plans,
the work of the Glory-Father, when he of wonders of every one
eternal Lord the beginning established.
He first created for men's sons
heaven as a roof, holy Creator;
then middle-earth mankind's Guardian,
eternal Lord afterwards made
for men earth Master almighty.
This is Caedmon's Hymn. It stands at the beginning of English Literature, as the book of Genesis stands at the beginning of Hebrew Literature. It is the English creation account.
"When he of wonders of every one eternal Lord the beginning established." This speaks of the seminal reasons. It reminds me of Fr. Zosima's saying that the Lord took seeds from other worlds and planted them on the earth. Whatever could come up did come up. And the soul lives only by its feeling of contact with other mysterious worlds.
The beginning of every wonder that has appeared, is appearing, and will appear on this earth has already been established. Some seeds lie dormant for a long time before they sprout. But all the seeds are already there, sleeping in the earth, from the beginning.
From "Agrarianism in Exile" by George Weaver: "It tells us a great deal about a man to know that he chooses as his form of expression the poetic medium. It tells us, I think, something about his system of ontology. . . .The entire corpus of the world's poetry rests upon a theory of universal analogy which teaches that all phenomena in some degree resemble each other. There is a minimal truth in even the wildest metaphor simply because the world is, from one point of view, a unitary thing. And this amounts to saying that it is a creation. When in the Anglo-Saxon legend a vision appeared to Caedmon and told him to "sing creation," it was as if inspiration were pointing out to the poet his archetypal theme. Now if poetry is this system of universal analogy, and if the analogy mounts up toward that which most resembles everything else, or that which has the most universal being, it is true that all poetry is a form of worship. . . .The practice of poetry amounts in effect to a confession of faith in immanent reality, which is the gravest of all commitments."
I would like to invite anyone who happens to be reading this to converse on some or all of these questions or other related questions.
Is a poet a maker or an imitator? Are the two necessarily separate?
If the poet is a maker what does he make? Images? Metaphors? (I remember Frost cheerfully admitting that "once a man has made a metaphor it unfits him for any other work.")
How important are traditional forms? Can lyric poetry exist apart from them? How do forms imported from other traditions work with the English language? The sonnet form was originally Italian. Does the haiku form, for instance, work in English? Hopkins used the sonnet form--and yet he also recovered accentual meter ("Sprung Rhythm"), alliteration, and even the binary line, to some extent. Are these native forms still suited to English?
Is it better to seek or shun the Muse? Caedmon refused the harp each time it came around to him. Hopkins at times gave up writing poetry in order to devote himself to his priestly vocation and Christian soul. Some people consider this a loss, but the poems he did write would not be what they are if it weren't for this fasting. Thoughts?
Lastly, my Southern Literature professor said that while many women are masters of fiction and the novel, most of the best lyric poetry is written by men. Is this true? And if so why?