The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Synopsis

'A very useful edition of the poems, together with extracts from the diaries, letters, sermons and devotional writings. Also a helpful, unfussy introduction and good notes. It forms a good introduction ti a poet whom many students find difficult.' Dr. S. M. Smith, Nottingham University.

Excerpt

The steady growth and consolidation of the fame of Gerard Manley Hopkins has now reached a point from which, it would seem, there can be no permanent regression. His assured position as one of the important poets of the nineteenth century--a poet 'major' in the unique quality of his best work if 'minor' in total output--has been indicated in the last thirty- five years by the many editions of his verse and prose which have been called for, as well as by the number and significance of the critical studies which his writings have evoked.

Hopkins died in 1889, having seen none of his own verse in print except a few early poems, three comic triolets, and Latin versions of an epigram by Dryden and two songs by Shakespeare. Yet although his finest poetry was to remain almost unknown until 1918, the light of his genius had not been wholly extinguished. His influence on his friend Robert Bridges had already enabled the latter to demonstrate (in such a poem as London Snow) some of the fruitful innovations of the more original master's Sprung Rhythm. Moreover, since 1893 Bridges had insinuated a number of Hopkins's mature poems into anthologies, his purpose being to create, gradually and tactfully, the taste by which this new and at first difficult poetry could be sensitively judged. Interest thus aroused had eventually led to a widespread demand for a full collection.

The First Edition of 1918 was prepared by Bridges with a devoted and scholarly care, yet the relatively small issue of 750 copies took ten years to exhaust. A few discerning critics in both Britain and America put their fingers at once on the poet's most striking and durable qualities; but many reviewers regarded the book as a gracious though rather costly monument to the unfulfilled talent of the Poet Laureate's pious and ingenious friend. By 1930, however, the new poetic voice was . . .

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