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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.

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Abstract

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
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:42

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