Excerpt from Blessings Not Unmixed: The Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Victorian poet un known to Victorians. The publication of his poems, under the editorship of Robert Bridges, in 1918, created con siderable interest in a limited circle of critics and stu dents of poetry who were challenged by the originality and obscurity of the poems. This interest has grown, and con tinnes to grow; but Hopkins is still not a widely-known poet.
It has'been the purpose of this study to examine first, the spiritual struggle which was the strongest force in the poet's life; second, his unusual qualities as cre ative artist; and third, the body of his published work. His early poems, narratives, and unfinished poems have been treated as introductory to a more detailed commentary upon his more mature artistic production; and for the poems which.fall under the latter classification, individual in terpretations are presented. 'wherever possible, the comp ments of critics, as well as the personal testimony of the poet and his close friends, have been brought together to contribute to the understanding of the poems.
Since Hopkins is a more or less recent dis covery in the world of poetry, there exists no definitive body of Hopkins criticism; and among those who have comp mented upon him there are marked differences of opinion. This has made it frequently necessary for this study either to present conclusions based upon personal judgment, or to leave conclusions to the reader. This situation applies, in particular, to the interpretation of poems about which no criticism has been written. As far as possible, all existing Hopkins material has been examined. Two sources, however, which.might have been most valuable, have not been accessible, the volume, great Catholics, containing an essay on Hopkins by the Reverend d'arcy, S. J., and the Hopkins number of the English periodical, Egg Verse.
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