Gerard Manley Hopkins Poems In Musical Adaptations
 
Gerard Manley Hopkins Poems In Musical Adaptations
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Gerard Manley Hopkins
Poet Priest Artist Writer Musician

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins
 

  Gerard Manley Hopkins was born on 28 July 1844, the eldest of eight children in an artistic Anglican middle-class family in Stratford, Essex. At Highgate School he was awarded several school prizes including one for his poem the Escorial and a scholarship for Oxford University. He gained a Double First Class degree at Balliol College.

He converted to Catholicism while at Oxford, this was primarily as a result of his belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist and also because of the issue of apostolic succession. He was received into the Church of Rome on 21 October 1866 by Cardinal Henry Newman. His controversial move was not welcomed by his parents, and none of the family followed him.

His first job on leaving Oxford was a teaching post at the Oratory in Birmingham. While there he was inspired to begin teaching himself the violin. He also felt the call to enter the ministry and decided to become a Jesuit. He took his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on 8 September 1870, then after several years of study in London, Lancashire and Wales he was ordained a priest in September 1877 and took his final vows as a Jesuit in 1882.

Hopkins had a sensistive artistic nature which revealed itself not only in his poetry, writings and drawings but also in his ability to cope with his various roles as priest and teacher. His health was not robust and much of his energy went into carrying out his duties such as marking students exam papers which were not only time consuming but also unrewarding.

Hopkins loved composing melodies and he set to music a number of his own poems as well as other texts including friend's verse. He also sung and played piano. The gramaphone was in an early stage and lamentably no recordings exist of him reciting or singing his verse.

Gerard Manley Hopkins died on 8 June 1889, of typhoid fever at St Stephen's Green, Dublin. His parents were at his deathbed when he received the Viaticum and was heard to say "I am so happy, so happy". His poems were first published by his friend Robert Bridges in 1918. His mother Catherine died in 1920 at the age of ninty-nine.

 

Poems And Prose Of Gerard Manley Hopkins: Selected With An Introduction And Notes by W. H. Gardner
Penguin Books, First Published 1953 ISBN 0-14-042-015-0

Gerard Manley Hopkins: Priest, Poet, Saint by Nancy Benvenga
CTS Publications, 1993 ISBN 0-85183-900-2

 
Essential reading for all Hopkins' fans
Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works
including all the poems and selected prose
Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Catherine Phillips
Oxford University Press ISBN
0-19-284079-7
 
© Iulia Clow 2006