Gerard Manley Hopkins

2457 Words10 Pages
Contents Page # 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…show more content…
Some of the recurrent themes and motifs in Hopkins’ poetry include the idea that the world resembles a book written by God, through which he expresses himself in order to provide humans with an opportunity to understand and approach him (Gardner 11). In ‘God’s Grandeur’ Hopkins can be seen to express his concern about the spiritual crisis of the Victorian period. During this time of urbanization and industrialization, Hopkins voiced his distress about human indifference to destruction. This poem is one of the very few which he wrote during the time when he served as a priest. The form of ‘God’s Grandeur’ is an Italian sonnet, but with some alteration. Even though Hopkins does not use sprung rhythm here, he varies his sonnet structure from the traditional iambic pentameter. Typically, a sonnet contains 3 quatrains (4 lines) and a couplet (2 lines); the Italian sonnet is characterized by having 1 octave (8 lines) and 1 sestet (6 lines). In ‘God’s Grandeur’ a similar pattern is followed, however, Hopkins presents a technique he often employs in other works as well, that of using the octet to present a personal or a sensory experience and the octet in order to provide some reflection on the topic (Gardner 221). ‘God’s Grandeur’ paints a poignant image of the destructiveness of contemporary human life, in particular, in the second quatrain. The second quatrain also presents a feature that is specific for Hopkins and different from the rhythm of the Italian
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