Hopkins: A Literary Biography

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More About This Textbook


'To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life / Among strangers': so begins one of the darkest and most overtly autobiographical of Hopkins's poems, written in Ireland a few years before his death. In this major new biography, more deeply researched, fully documented, and comprehensive than any before it, Norman White uses the intimate evidence of the poems, letters, and journals, his personal knowledge of the places where Hopkins lived, and all surviving documentary records, to explore the life of the priest-poet who constantly felt himself 'the stranger' in his world. It was more than just the enforced restlessness of his life following his conversion and the decision at twenty-four to become a Jesuit--through Hopkins's writings again and again reveal his responsiveness to place, and his poignant sense of having no true home. His inner life was also an unresolved search for answers to his own difficult temperament: a series of crises, in fact, to which his responses were typically extreme, and ultimately unsatisfying. His vivid apprehension of beauty and particularity--in language, in the characters of men, in natural things, in what he perceived as the nature of Christ--was fuelled as much by longing as by calm assurance of belief. It is just this that makes him a supreme poet not only of nature but of the religious condition: the experience of both faith and despair. Norman White investigates Hopkins's background and Oxford student life, and the Roman Catholic world which he entered, carefully and without prejudgements, setting his development and the movement of his thought against the background of Victorian England. The turmoil of Hopkins's strange personality is fully explored, as is the effect of his austere profession on his highly original writings--the journals and poems that are among the most remarkable works of literature in the English language.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198183501
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 568
  • Product dimensions: 9.13 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Chronological Table I: Life
Chronological Table II: Major Poems
Pt. I The Boy, 1844-1863
1 Kate Smith and Manley Hopkins 3
2 Stratford 10
3 Hampstead 14
4 Highgate 24
Pt. II The Student, 1863-1868
5 Balliol College 39
6 Freshman Allegiances 51
7 Vital Truths of Nature: Hopkins and Ruskin 68
8 Useful Information 80
9 Studies 91
10 Dolben 106
11 Religion 122
12 Perversion and Estrangement 134
13 Decision: Bovey Tracey and Birmingham 147
14 Swiss Swan-Song 162
Pt. III The Jesuit, 1868-1874
15 Novitiate: Roehampton, 1868-1870 171
16 Philosophate: St Mary's Hall, 1870-1873 188
17 Seascapes: The Isle of Man 203
18 Teaching: London and Devon, 1873-1874 215
Pt. IV The Poet, 1874-1877
19 St Beuno's 231
20 Welsh and Wells 241
21 'The Wreck of the Deutschland' 250
22 'Light, amid the encircling gloom' 261
23 'In my salad days, in my Welsh days' 277
Pt. V Fortune's Football, 1877-1884
24 'Cobweb, soapsud, and frost-feather permanence': Mount St Mary's, Stonyhurst, Farm Street, Oxford, 1877-1879 293
25 'So fagged, so harried and gallied up and down': Bedford Leigh, Liverpool, Glasgow, 1879-1881 315
26 'Surely one vocation cannot destroy another?': Roehampton Tertianship and Stonyhurst, 1881-1883 330
27 'Careful and subtle fault-finding': Patmore and Hopkins 344
Pt. VI The Stranger, 1884-1889
28 An Irish Row 357
29 'Dapple at end' 378
30 'Dark not day' 398
31 Sanctuaries 410
32 'What shall I do for the land that bred me?' 429
33 'I wish then for death' 444
Post Mortem 458
Abbreviations used in the Notes 467
Notes 469
Select Bibliography 511
Index 523
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