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The development of Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry

Robinson, J. G. (1973) The development of Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Introduction The risk of misapplying Hopkins’ letters. Ideas that Hopkins had no respect for life, that he was torn between two vocations, that he was transformed as a poet by the Jesuits all rejected. Importance of evolution in him and of effect of circumstances. Precariousness in his work. Chap. 1 Oxford and Pater Continuity between Hopkins’ university work and subsequent poetry (his sense of transience, of self as a perceiver, his fear of failing, his vulnerability) but no synthesis of nature and religion at Oxford. The importance of his idea of form in making this – his double attitude to Pater – remarkable similarities but difference over ‘the absolute’. Seed for future sown before Hopkins joined Jesuits. Chap. 2 The Fallow Years Hopkins’ burning early work a token – professionalism in his attitude to poetry – fear of vulnerability hence non-publication. The development of his world-view and his art – centrality of form (inscape) in this, effect of Scouts – evolution of Sprung Rhythm began at Oxford – strengths and weaknesses – Hopkins’ theory of poetry on him – idea of classical models for Hopkins set aside. Jesuits did not transform Hopkins as a poet. Chap. 3 The Grandeur of God The unity of Hopkins’ nature doctrine, and its limitations – importance of Wales – ‘The Weaknesses in Hopkins’ poems about men – idealisation and unreality – occasional privacy of Hopkins’ language. Equanimity of nature-doctrine had to be threatened before he could grow as a poet. Chap. 4 The Idea of the Wreck Hopkins’ life-long concern with transience – ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’ untypical because not a lament – elsewhere Hopkins increasingly anguished – ultimately sorrow produced feeling of futility – ‘The shepherd’s brow’. Struggle to reconcile love of life with transience presages struggles of Irish sonnets. Chap. 5 Ireland and the End of Beauty Ideal of conflict between priest and poet rejected – misery in Ireland caused by nature of work – strains imposed and frustration of religious aim at core of his experience - 'winter world' his major artistic achievement - poems at limit of what is communicable -terrible sonnets, a therapy - Hopkins' affronted patriotism – theme of failed creativity - Irish poems show permanent development? Conclusion Hopkins' life and work difficult to understand but having logic. The gradual evolution of his theory of poetry - his attitude towards it. Constancy in his attitude to Society of Jesus. Gradual evolution of his idea of form. Absence from his poetry of bestial nature. Growth as a poet dealing with transience. Place of circumstance in his evolution - comparison with Wilfred Owen - Hopkins' involuntary growth in Ireland. Contrast with Arthur Hugh Clough - Hopkins' total commitment.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:42

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