Prayer and Piety in the Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins the Landscape of a Soul

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This study focuses on poems that are either addressed totally and directly to God or the Blessed Virgin Mary; poems that are prayers in part; and poems that are meditations on a religious theme. It categorizes the poems by the topics most influential in shaping Hopkins' spiritual and poetic life: the Virgin Mary, the Eucharist, the dark night of the soul, spiritual wrecking, nature, attainment of spiritual perfection, and the resurrection of the body. It chronicles the progress of Hopkins' spiritual life and his efforts to minimize himself as a poet and render praise and honor to God as a priest, seeking connections among poems, prayers, and spiritual meditations, examining them organically by asking how they reflect Hopkins' erratic relationship to God. It also examines the poems in light of his sermons, letters, and spiritual writings which clarify his religious sentiments and complete the portrait of Hopkins the poet and the priest.


“Books are delightful because they inform; but they are also pleasurable because they inspire. Prayer and Piety in the Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, by John Delli-Carpini, inspires. The book is a study of Hopkins’s prayer and piety within the context of his sacramental vision. . . . an exuberant celebration of Hopkins’s best-loved poems. The book is truly a delightful read.” – The Year’s Work in English Studies (Oxford)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword, Preface, Acknowledgments, Introduction
1. The Mary Prayers (Ad Mariam; Rosa Mystica; The May Magnificat; The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe)
2. The Communion Prayers (Barnfloor and Winepress; Easter Communion; Easter; The Bugler's First Communion)
3. The Prayers of Desolation ("My prayers must meet a brazen heaven"; "I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day"; "No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief"; "To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life"; "My own heart let me more have pity on"; "Patience, hard thing! The hard thing but to pray"; Nondum; "The shepherd's brow fronting forked lightning")
4. The Prayers of Spiritual Wrecking (The Loss of the Eurydice; The Wreck of the Deutschland)
5. The Prayers of Celebration (The Starlight Night; God's Grandeur; Spring; Pied Beauty; Hurrahing in Harvest; In the Valley of the Elwy)
6. The Prayers of Spiritual Perfection (The Half-way House; The Habit of Perfection; "Myself unholy, from myself unholy"; "Let me be to Thee as the circling bird"; The Windhover - To Christ Our Lord; "As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame"; The Candle Indoors; "Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend")
7. The Prayers of Resurrection (The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo; That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection)
Conclusion and Bibliography

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