Gerard Manley Hopkins

Topics: Poetry, Meter, Sprung rhythm Pages: 8 (2457 words) Published: October 26, 2012
ContentsPage #

I. Introduction 1
II. Biography 1
III. Poem #1 “God’s Grandeur” 3
IV. Poem #2 “Binsey Poplars” 4
V. Reputation and Critical Reception 5
VI. Conclusion 6

I. Introduction
Bridging the distance between nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry is of great significance. As often the case with innovators and artists who are ahead of their times, Gerard Manley Hopkins was torn by contradictions and his poems regarded as unconventional for the historical period. His works are specifically marked by the varied use of linguistic features and rhythmic patterns which did not match the traditional writing styles of the nineteenth century. Hopkins uses what he terms ‘sprung rhythm,’ a form which draws on alliteration, onomatopoeia and imagery, to name but a few. These rhythmic patterns give his works an outstanding and remarkable quality in the sense that he offers the reader to enjoy and take pleasure in wordplay and rhythm. What is more, his works also possess a deep meaning in terms of how the poet views the beauty of the natural world. Being torn by intricate contradictions, Gerard Manley Hopkins also expresses strong and passionate emotions with the help of his poetry, making it one of the most prominent and drawing samples of English verse. The aim of this report is to provide Hopkins’ biography, a summary and an analysis of some of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ works. In order to do so, the report will first examine the poet’s background by examining significant events from his life, as well as important influences on his work. The report will then move on to analyse two of Hopkins’ poems, ‘God’s Grandeur’ and ‘Binsey Poplars.’ Finally, an attempt to review how the poet’s appreciation and reputation have changed over time will be made. In addition, this report has a conclusion that indicates a summary of appreciation and what I have learned through his work. II. Biography

Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poems were not collected or published during his lifetime. Nonetheless, he is one of Britain’s most prominent poets. Significantly for his life and work, Hopkins was also deeply religious and a Jesuit priest. He was fascinated by the nature and the beauty of the natural world. United with his faith and his unconventional use of language, Hopkins created poetry which is marked by its complexity and expressiveness. Perhaps one of the most crucial influences on his writing was the fact that he constantly felt a struggle between his emotions and personal feelings and the obligations to his faith. As a result, Hopkins produced poems that are charged with intensity and that manage to express his personal emotions (Poetry Foundation). Born on July 28, 1844 in Stratford, United Kingdom, Gerard Manley Hopkins began in comfortable circumstances life. His family was wealthy, artistic, and Hopkins’ parents were deeply religious Anglicans. His father was a church warden, but he had also spent several years working as the British Consul General for Hawaii. Both of his parents were interested in the arts to some extent. His mother had a keen interest in languages and music and his father composed music and wrote poetry. Several of Hopkins’ siblings pursued careers in the arts and languages. Hopkins started writing poetry at an early age and went on to study Classics at Oxford University. It is here that he met people, such as Robert Bridges, who significantly influenced his work. While at Oxford, Hopkins also converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism and set out on a more devout religious path (Poetry Foundation). In 1866, he joined the Society of Jesus as a priest and decided to burn all his poems and to stop writing. Although there is no explicit evidence of Hopkins’ sexual orientation, his works are sometimes analysed as homoerotic (Poetry Foundation). The poet also describes some strong emotional feelings but felt that they...
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