Saved for the Nation, a Priceless Trove of Gerard Manley Hopkins' Handwritten Gems

Daily Mail (London), November 2, 2018 | Go to article overview

Saved for the Nation, a Priceless Trove of Gerard Manley Hopkins' Handwritten Gems


Byline: David Wilkes

REGARDED as one of the greatest and most innovative poets in the English language, Gerard Manley Hopkins's revolutionary work had an influence on T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and W.H. Auden despite being completely unknown to the wider public in his lifetime.

Now a priceless archive of his work and hand-written notes and letters has been saved for the nation. Kept by his friend, the then much more celebrated poet Robert Bridges, one document in the trove suggests he did not rate Hopkins's work as first class at the time.

The collection also includes Hopkins's socalled 'A' manuscript of 74 of his poems, many of them written in Hopkins's own hand. Tragically, he died young of typhoid, in Dublin, aged just 44 in 1889 whereas his friend Bridges lived on well into the 20th century, becoming Poet Laureate.

The literary gold mine has been acquired by the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme (AIL), which allows people to hand over artworks to cover inheritance tax. This also frequently prevents such items from being sold and ending up abroad or in private hands.

Michael Ellis, a minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said: 'As one of a distinguished group of British poets, we are fortunate to acquire this rich archive of Robert Bridges for the benefit of the nation. …

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