GM Hopkins Community

Gerard Manley Hopkins
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I was born in 1844 in Stratford, Essex, and was educated at Highgate School and Balliol College, Oxford. In 1866, much to the consternation of my family, I converted to Roman Catholicism, and two years later, I became a Jesuit, burning nearly all the poems I had written until then. Between 1874 and 1877, as a student of theology at St Beuno's College, north Wales, I studied the Welsh language. I found its poetry inspiring, and could not resist the urge to begin writing again, although of course after my superior in the Church encouraged him to do so. In fact, my first masterpiece was written at this time, in 1875, in response to the wreck of the Deutschland, a ship carrying, amongst others, five Franciscan nuns who had been expelled from Germany. Although my superior had asked me to write the poem, he found the result perplexing, and it was not published during my life time.

As to the qualities of my poetry, I will let others here speak.

In 1877 I was ordained in the Jesuit order and served as a parish priest and teacher in England and Scotland before becoming a professor of Greek and Latin at University College, Dublin, in 1884.

I died in 1889. My poems were published, by my friend Robert Bridges, in 1918.