Literature Essay

3100 WordsSep 4, 201213 Pages
Gerard Manley Hopkins, (born July 28, 1844, Stratford, Essex, Eng.—died June 8, 1889, Dublin), English poet and Jesuit priest, one of the most individual of Victorian writers. His work was not published in collected form until 1918, but it influenced many leading 20th-century poets. Hopkins was the eldest of the nine children of Manley Hopkins, an Anglican, who had been British consul general in Hawaii and had himself published verse. Hopkins won the poetry prize at the Highgate grammar school and in 1863 was awarded a grant to study at Balliol College, Oxford, where he continued writing poetry while studying classics. In 1866, in the prevailing atmosphere of the Oxford Movement, which renewed interest in the relationships between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church by John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman. The following year, he left Oxford with such a distinguished academic record that Benjamin Jowett, then a Balliol lecturer and later master of the college, called him “the star of Balliol.” Hopkins decided to become a priest. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1868 and burned his youthful verses, determining “to write no more, as not belonging to my profession.” Until 1875, however, he kept a journal recording his vivid responses to nature as well as his expression of a philosophy for which he later found support in Duns Scotus, the medieval Franciscan thinker. Hopkins’ philosophy emphasized the individuality of every natural thing, which he called “inscape.” To Hopkins, each sensuous impression had its own elusive “selfness”; each scene was to him a “sweet especial scene.” In 1874 Hopkins went to St. Beuno’s College in North Wales to study theology. There he learned Welsh, and, under the impact of the language itself as well as that of the poetry and encouraged by his superior, he began to write poetry again. Moved

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