Academic journal article Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature

The Hopkins Society First Annual Lecture: Forms and Feeling in the Sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Academic journal article Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature

The Hopkins Society First Annual Lecture: Forms and Feeling in the Sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Article excerpt

THE first Hopkins Society lecture was given by Professor Barbara Hardy of Royal Holloway College, University of London, February 1970. Professor Hardy was an excellent selection. As a scholar of Victorian studies, her reputation was soaring. Her forte was Victorian fiction. She was giving lectures and publishing studies on Dickens, Thackeray, the Brontes, Eliot, Meredith, and Hardy. In George E Ford's Research Guide to Victorian Fiction (1978), Hardy's work was cited some forty-one times.

In her Hopkins lecture, Hardy took up the theme of feelings in poetry. She noted that this focus was an apt one since much of Hopkins criticism has stressed thought and literary form. Hardy argued that feeling is a necessary critical issue in that Hopkins was essentially a writer of lyrics, preeminently the literary form of poetic feeling. The critical axiom of her reading of Hopkins's poetry is carefully stated: "Judgments in poetry are passionate statements. Hopkins's poetry is concerned with strong feelings of hope, praise, faith, patience, desire--the changing expressions on the face of love." From this critical perspective Hardy examined the forms and feelings of some of Hopkins's major sonnets. This lecture about Hopkins's poetry must have fully engaged larger critical interests, for Hardy revised the lecture later and made it a chapter in her book, The Advantage of Lyric (Indiana UP, 1977). …

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