Hopkins Archive 1987 - 95

First published in Studies. An Irish Quarterly Review, 2 (1995)

Index, list of links Gerard Manley Hopkins Lectures

Lectures from early years of The Gerard Manley Hopkins Literary Festival were published first published in Studies. An Irish Quarterly Review, 2 (1995). The Hopkins Society were deeply appreciate of this wonderful support.

Topics covered include a wide range of aspects of Hopkins's poetry including Hopkins and aesthetics, creativity, Darwin, a feminist view, a Japanese view of Hopkins, poetry and philosophy, Saint Patrick and Rabindranath Tagore

Towards a Catholic Catholic Theory of Art and Aesthetics

Russell Eliot Murphy University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA

An age that thinks that poets do not have to bother about the accuracy of their observations is automatically passing a dismissive judgement on the subjects with which poetry concerns itself. Passing such a judgement by suggesting that those matters are not important in any event except only,of course, as they matter for each of us as individuals. As far as the larger culture is concerned, ours is apparently an age that confuses truth, like science, with fact. As the accepted opinion would have it, individuals today may still require the palliatives of bons mots, but the culture requires facts, hard, fast and accurate. . . Read more about a Catholic Theory of Art and Aesthetics

Gerard Manley Hopkins: a legacy to the twentieth century

Elaine Murphy The Gerard Manley Hopkins Society

W.H. Gardner describes the permanent worth of Hopkins as a writer:

He is one of the most powerful and profound of our religious poets and is also one of the most satisfying of the so called `nature poets' in English. He is a master of original style and a strikingly successful innovator in poetic language and rhythm. He possessed a unique artistic personality and intense practical concern with those interests which inform and shape his poetry, namely his religion, personal reading of nature, his love of people and his critical approach to art and to poetic techniques in particular . . . he succeeded in breaking up, by a kind of creative violence, an outworn convention. ...

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Hopkins's Breviary Poems

Robert V. Caro, SJ Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA.

The four-volume edition of The Liturgy of the Hours widely used in the United States incorporates in its poetry sections seven poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. These include his translation of St. Francis Xavier's 'O Deus Ego Amo Te' and 'The May Magnificat,' which, delightful as it is, Hopkins dismissed as simply an occasional poem (cf. Letter to Bridges qtd. in Poems 272). The remaining five poems, memorable sonnets chosen from Hopkins's mature work, include two of the nature sonnets written in Wales in 1877, two of the sonnets of desolation or so-called terrible sonnets written in Dublin in 1885, and another sonnet of desolation, 'Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord,' composed a few months before Hopkins's death in 1889.

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Poetics of Transcendence after Charles Darwin:The Aspect of Nature

Cary H. Plotkin Barnard College, Columbia University, USA.

The problem confronting a religious poet in the latter half of the nineteenth century was how to go beyond sentiment and attitude to uncover transcendence in a world whose intelligibility was passing from theology to science, a world with no place for transcendence.

The problem confronting a religious poet in the latter half of the nineteenth century was not how to express religious feeling or an attitude of religious meditation in the world: the lesser poets of the time (Keble, Patmore, and on a higher level Christina Rossetti, for example) all found an apt register in the given resources of language and representation of their day.

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Hopkins Patterns of Creativity

Joseph J. Feeney S.J. St Joseph's University, USA

.These broken sentences, with their call to some neo-Platonic or Romantic 'Fancy', express Hopkins's desire both for inspiration and for appropriate expression, yet tell little about how his creativity functions. Their breathlessness is fitting, but the lines are not overly clear.

More explicit is the poem 'thou art indeed just', dated March 17, 1889. As he looks at the leaves, plants, and nests of spring, Hopkins grieves over his lost inspiration, and imagines creativity in terms of such nature-images as building, breeding, waking, and growing: 'birds build - but not I build'; I 'strain, / Time's eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes'; I need 'rain' for 'my roots'.

Explore Hopkins's Patterns of Creativity

Ross Stuart Kilpatrick Queen's University, Kingston

In his definitive edition of Hopkins' poetic works (1990) Professor N. H. MacKenzie has likened these lines to the undergraduate fragments for their lack of context. If they are a translation of some classical text, no such original has been discovered. Mythological leads to Nereus, Poseidon or Boreas (or to Irish mythology) have produced no results.

Read more about Hopkins, Sea and The Wreck of the Deutschland


Hopkins's European Mentors: Exploratory Observations

Michael E. Allsopp, Miami, USA.

Can you tell me who that critic in the Athenaeum is that writes very long reviews on English and French poets, essayists, and so forth in a style like De Quincey's, very acute in his remarks, provoking, jaunty, and (I am sorry to say) would-be humorous? He always quotes Persian stories (unless he makes them up) and talks about Rabelaisian humour. Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges (May 21, 1878)

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Feminist Possibilities in Hopkins's Poetry

Lesley Higgins York University, Ontario, Canada

To begin with there is no such thing as "feminism." That is, there is no one single, exclusive theory or practice called "feminism." Instead, we have multiple, diverse, heterogeneous feminist discourses. "Feminism" is as imprecise a term as "Christianity". Feminist practices, on the other hand, involve two interrelated projects: they are, as Gayatri Spivak suggests, "against sexism, where women unite as a biologically oppressed caste; and for feminism, where human beings train to prepare for a transformation of consciousness".

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Influence of Gerard Manley Hopkins on Ivor Gurney

Mark William Brown Jamestown College, Maryland, USA

Ten years ago Michael D. Moore described Ivor Gurney as `the first poet of any significance [apart from Robert Bridges] to exhibit the apparent influence of Gerard Manley Hopkins' . While in no way pretending that his `little essay' was a `thorough comparative inquiry' into the subject, Moore was able to compile an impressive catalogue of internal evidence from Gurney's recently published Collected Poems. Indeed, Richard F. Giles, who edited the monograph in which Moore's essay appeared, pronounced Gurney the one poet `who most fully assimilated the influence of Hopkins,' inasmuch as `Gurney's poems are sometimes original within the bonds [sic] of the Hopkins presence, a feat that most other twentieth-century poets who attempted to imitate Hopkins found impossible' .

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A Japanese Perspective on English Poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins

Kazuyoshi Enozawa Keio University, Japan

Not a few people in the English-speaking world who have read Hopkins 'The Wreck of the Deutschland' would own that they have found the whole stuff quite 'tough'; in some parts, even beyond comprehension. If such response is possible for English-speaking poetry-readers, it is not just possible, but - to put it more strongly - almost inevitable for their counterparts in the Far East, to whom English is not their native tongue. I mean Japanese readers of Hopkins's poetry. If their understanding and appreciation of that poetry is in any way limited, it is principally due to the fact that English is not a medium they are born to command, but one they have to master through assiduous learning. Language barrier, however, is not the sole factor by which the Japanese are handicapped in their approach to Hopkins's poetry.

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John Berryman and Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerry Murray Poet - Critic, Chicago,USA

Countervailing views of the most apt positioning of Gerard Manley Hopkins in the English-American poetic tradition often serve as fodder for both academic and amateur debate. There is, of course, the prevailing double-edged question: Should Hopkins be considered a major minor poet?... or a minor major poet? One supposes this is more than literary hair-splitting. And certainly Hopkins' admirers should quickly assume the high ground that sees this nineteenth-century Jesuit as a major talent with a minor but enduring and ever challenging output.

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John Ruskin: Gerard Manley Hopkins Silent Don
Philip Ballinger Gonzaga Univarsity, Spokane, USA

Understanding may come to some seekers as a kind of revelation, but for many it is more akin to the slow growth of roots through soil. The soil in which the understanding of Hopkins may be sought is that of context and influence. What and whose ideas did he encounter, assimilate, reject or transcend? What, or perhaps who, provided him with a foundation upon which his own genius could unfold? Over the decades of Hopkins studies, the question of context and influence has been raised consistently. To my eye a relative gap remains in the study of influence. Who taught Hopkins, that artist of keenest vision, how to `see?' The answer is immediately encountered upon entering the study of Hopkins - it was John Ruskin.

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A Hopkins Discovery: Four Unknown Autograph Letters
Joseph J. Feeney, S.J. St. Joseph's, Philadelphia, USA

New, unknown Hopkins Letters Discovered In July 1993, I discovered four unpublished, unknown manuscript letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins, all of biographical or literary importance . They are `autograph letters, signed' - handwritten, with signature - and date from 1882 (when Hopkins was 38 years old) to 1888 (a year before his death); three were written to fellow Jesuits (his only extant letters to Jesuits), the fourth to Cardinal Newman. I found them at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, among the papers of the late Hopkins scholar, the Rev Anthony D. Bischoff, S.J., who had discovered them in England and Ireland, probably in 1947, and had kept them for a never completed biography.

Read the full text of Four Unknown Autograph Letters here

RabindranathTagore and Hopkins: Poetry and Nationalism at the Margins

Shyamal Bagchee University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

In linking the names of Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) my purpose is to explore some issues of poetic imagination, poetic expression, and ideas of nationalism to the extent these can be detected in the works of Tagore and Hopkins. In some cases, Ireland will be the site of enactment of these ideas and these various performances of words and temperaments. "Various," certainly, for this exploration will reveal changeable relationships that are neither fixed nor immutable.Hopkins and Tagore found the word "nationalism" to be troublesome.

Read the rest of this Lecture on GM Hopkins and Rabindranath Tagore

HOPKINS: Poetry and Philosophy

Gerard Casey National University of Ireland - Dublin

I am going to begin, as all philosophers do, by going back to the ancient Greeks, and then taking a quick tour of the present day, before returning to the ancient Greeks again. Let us begin with the so-called quarrel between philosophy and poetry — What was the reason for this? Well, philosophy was invented at a particular point in time, and in relation to poetry, it was a newcomer.

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The Sea took Pity: Hopkins No. 173

Ross Stuart Kilpatrick Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

On an undated scrap of paper, G. M. Hopkins had written in pencil the following four lines:

The sea took pity: it interposed with doom:
`I have tall daughters dear that heed my hand:
Let Winter wed one, sow them in her womb,
And she shall child them on the New-world strand'.

In his definitive edition of Hopkins's poetic works (1990) Professor N. H. MacKenzie has likened these lines to the undergraduate fragments for their lack of context. If they are a translation of some classical text, no such original has been discovered. Mythological leads to Nereus, Poseidon or Boreas (or to Irish mythology) have produced no results.

Read the full Lecture here

Simile and its metamorphoses in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Giuseppe Serpillo University of Sassari, Sardinia

Not everything Hopkins wrote is of great quality. He was aware of this, as he was of the high quality of some of his best pieces. His repudiation of so much of his early production was probably due, not just to religious scruples, but especially to his awareness that most of it was verse, not poetry.

Yet it is not easy to say: `This is mediocre' when discussing Hopkins: it sounds like profanation. Besides, if you start making distinctions between what is good or bad poetry, there will immediately be someone asking you the crucial question:

Read about simile in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins here

St Patrick and Gerard Manley Hopkins

Ernest Ferlita SJ, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA., USA.

There is no doubt that Hopkins was devoted to St Patrick, admired him greatly and thought highly of his Confession and of the hymn or prayer formerly attributed to him, known as `The Breastplate of St Patrick' . Echoes of both these works, especially the Confession, are to be found, I suggest, in some of his poems.

Read the rest of this Lecture on GM Hopkins and Saint Patrick here


Style in the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Brian Arkins National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Hopkins's style must be viewed against the general nineteenth century background. Romantic poetry espouses an idealist view of language which assumes that the object is known as a category of mind, but by the time of In Memoriam in 1850 Tennyson was expressing deep anxiety about the total dissolution of language: 'For words, like Nature, half reveal / And half conceal the Soul within' (In Memoriam, V).

Gerard Manley Hopkins and Creativity
Theory of Aesthetics and the Poetry of Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins and John Ruskin
Hopkins,Charles Darwin and Transcendence
A Feminist View of Gerard Manley Hopkins Poetry
Gerard Manley Hopkins and Nationalism
Gerard Manley Hopkins Archive 1987 - 2000