Gerard Manley Hopkins (28-07-1844 – 8-06-1889) was not only a Jesuit priest. He was also a gifted poet. During his life, he did not get the fame he deserved. After his death, his fame rose and nowadays he is considered as one of the leading figures when it comes to Victorian poetry.
The Victorian Era is a period in history that is known for its changes in politics. It also brought major changes in the social and economic structure.
After the loss of the overseas colonies, Great-Brittan recovered and entered a new era. During this period, literary giants rose. Known poets of this time are John Clare, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Gerard Manley Hopkins.
When focussing on the work of Hopkins, we cannot ignore his style of writing poetry. This style consisted of this thing called sprung rythm.
This type of poetry is considered to be more close to natural speech. It followed the ways that folk songs and spoken poetry were constructed. Hopkins claimed that he discovered sprung poetry. This claim is still debated until today.
Manley also used vivid and descriptive language in his work. This is the same as Imagery (poetry). The way the language was used, gave the poetry more depth.
We can assume that Manley was ahead of his time, even when you don’t want to go as far that he was the founding father of sprung rythm.
Why wasn’t this poet granted the popularity during his life that he deserved? It might have something to do with the last years of his life, when he spent his life in isolation. He distanced from his (Anglican) family. He started teaching at the University College of Dublin. Up to then, his work wasn’t published yet. During this period, he missed England. His work became melancholic.
Manley is a poet who wasn’t forgotten after he died, as his fame grew. His beautiful legacy is the reason he is one of the most important poets of the group of Victorian poets.