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In light of the critics' comments discuss Gerard Manley Hopkins' presentation of spirtual grief and despair, with reference to the 'sonnets of desolation' Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > English > In light of the critics' comments discuss Gerard Manley Hopkins' presentation of spirtual grief and despair, with reference to the 'sonnets of desolation'

In light of the critics' comments discuss Gerard Manley Hopkins' presentation of spirtual grief and despair, with reference to the 'sonnets of desolation'

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Hopkins' presentation of spirtual grief and despair

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In light of the critics' comments discuss Gerard Manley Hopkins' presentation of spirtual grief and despair, with reference to the 'sonnets of desolation'.
Gerard Manley Hopkins was always fascinated by the unique nature of personal thought and experience. As W. H. Gardner explained, Hopkins' ideal was a poem, a work of art, which was 'beautiful to inviduation.' He used language as a way of dipping as deeply as he could into his bank of feelings; of awe, of wonder, of disappointment, of confusion, of alienation, of certainty and of doubt.
While some of the greatest works of literature have thrived on a detached, elsewhere and sometimes even a deliberately anaemic narrative voice, Hopkins delivered his poetry through his entire being, displaying the purest of desires and the most expressive of convictions. His sensualism is revealed in original metaphors such as 'mealed-with-yellow sallows', 'piece-bright paling', and while he is widely classed as a 'nature poet' perhaps 'mood poet' would prove a more expansive and accurate term. Therefore, coupling a ravenous appetite for describing the distinctive and individual, and a noticeably present mood and feeling, Hopkins' poetry have qualities that set him aside from his contemporaries - something that Hopkins sought and indeed cultivated.
These are not the only factors that successfully marks Hopkins as a unique poet in a tradition all of his own. His desire to transport the reader into the place and mood of the poem lead to experiments with sound and metre - and the eventual prominence of Sprung rhythm throughout his works. The nature of regularity - be it adhering to a prescribed metre or vernacular - did not arrest Hopkins. Instead he bounded toward the unknown - toward the undescribed, the unheralded. He wanted the experience of reading to be transmutable, and embraced the more expressive and playful areas of poetry - notably alliteration and internal rhyme - when others considered them to be hackneyed or gimmick-ridden.
However, though his poetic style is widely revered, Hopkins is primarily recognised through his subject matter. It is his meditations on and with God that provide the bricks and mortar for his words and images. The poetry that Hopkins produced in the last five years of his life is widely recognised as the 'terrible' sonnets, or the Sonnets of Desolation. Although criticism of Hopkins it is not uniform enough to solely belong to one of two schools, the central critical response to his work, and in particular to his 'Sonnets of Desolation', derived from one of two starting points; the first being Hopkins' innovative and irregular use of language and metre; the second, the role his Jesuit faith played in his subject matter.
W.J. Turner claimed His work has no philosophical or intellectual content; ...

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