Hopkins's unique literary style
Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Victorian poet, still makes many literary critics think his work through over and over again, mainly because of his unique use of language.
Susan Chambers is in her essay “Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Kinesthetics of Conviction” concerned with “the need for regular renewal”, which Hopkins considered highly important (32). Neither Hopkins nor Chambers were absolutely sure what makes us respond differently to familiar things after a period of time or why ideas that have become familiar lose their vitality. But the fact that Hopkins realizes these things, as Chambers emphasizes in her essay, is one of the things which make his poetry so special, modern and ahead of the Victorian time.
Hopkins discoveres the way how to glue two very different parts together by using the same style for “inner psychic events as well as for the physical traumas” (10). One aspect of this experimental style is the sprung rhythm, which according to Hopkins “brought the rhythm of poetry closer to that of spoken English” (21).
His famous poem The Windhover is also written in the sprung rhythm. The bird symbolizes here the Christ to whom Hopkins dedicates the poem. Nathan A. Cervo points out “how Christian poetry challenges any priority accorded to temporal affairs” (Hopkins's The Windhover 190).
Although Hopkins considers the sprung rhythm more natural, most readers finds it difficult to understand. As Chambers brightly clarifies it is “more natural to rhythms of thought and feeling than it is to rhythms of speech (22).
The essays concerning with poetry, as those written by Cervo or Chambers, help readers fully appreciate the works by such a great poets as Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Cervo, Nathan. “Hopkins's The Windhover”. The Explicator 59 (Summer 2001): 189-190. ELF. 5
November 2012 Chambers, Susan. "Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Kinesthetics of Conviction".Victorian...
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