- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Putnam Adult (June 27, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039913610X
- ISBN-13: 978-0399136108
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Very Private Life Hardcover – June 27, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Hopkins (1844-1889), the gentle, scholarly poet-priest, greatly admired soldiers and harbored a propensity for militaristic jingoism. Neurotically obsessed with death, which he simultaneously feared and welcomed, he channeled this obsession into a "pattern of identification with female saints and martyrs." Wracked by guilt over his homosexual impulses, he repeatedly called himself a "eunuch" in his poems, and expressed his deepest religious emotions in sexual metaphors. Mentally unbalanced in his later years, he wrote sonnets and pagan hymns to physical beauty as a means to hold onto his sanity, according to Princeton emeritus professor Martin, the only biographer to gain unrestricted access to Hopkins's notebooks and jottings. This superlative, often astonishing portrait of Hopkins provides the fullest account to date of his agonized conversion from the Anglican faith to Roman Catholicism, and of the inner forces that drove him to create phenomenally observant poetry. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Martin (English/Princeton) brings his ranging knowledge of English Victorian life and his understanding of the poetic sensibility (Tennyson, 1980; With Friends Possessed: A Life of Edward Fitzgerald, 1985) to the subtle, obscure, introverted, and spare life and works of Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89), the Jesuit priest whose work, published first in 1918, 29 years after his death, is considered as influential as T.S. Eliot's in initiating the modern movement in poetry. Chapter one, ``The Importance of Being Manley,'' introduces the major struggle in Hopkins's life--a strong sexuality conflicted between what his family expected of him in giving him a name he seldom used and his own homoerotic impulses, suppressed, dislocated, and ultimately projected on nature and God, producing his religiously charged sensual poetry. Educated at Oxford, Hopkins later discovered in the discipline, intellectuality, and fellowship of the Jesuit order a refuge for his quirky personality, querulous nature, and personal style of piety. His subtle and unique philosophy of ``inscape,'' a highly complex sense of identity, and ``instress,'' the thrust of energy that allows one to apprehend the unique identity of each individual, found expression in a cryptic, dense, evocative experimental poetry, manipulating syntax, diction, and rhythm to reflect his sense of himself, his world, and his very personal relationship with God. Beset by melancholy, fears of his own unworthiness, and guilt at his lack of accomplishment, he published only one, nearly inscrutable, poem during his lifetime: The Wreck of the Deutschland (1875), describing the drowning of five nuns in a shipwreck. Along with sympathy, tact, appreciation, and humor, Martin brings new information from previously unpublished sources to elucidate the shadows in which Hopkins's life and poetry had been enfolded by well-meaning friends, scholars, and the critics who have made an industry of him. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
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Martin has given Hopkins a worthy biography. He explores his life within the Catholic Church, the Jesuits and ministry with an acute and sensitive eye. Hopkins’ poetry is not the easiest to read or understand and his life is even more difficult to make sense of. Martin allows Hopkins to be not just a priest or poet, but a man in full, mature complexity. This is the definitive biography for some time to come.