'I caught this morning morning's minion': the passions of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Course Dates: 26/06/21 - 03/07/21
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
We will explore why Hopkins wrote highly original poems of great power and beauty, but didn’t attempt to have them published in his lifetime. We will look at how this relates to his conversion to Roman Catholicism and, in turn, how this may have related to fears about his sexuality.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00

Course Code: HLT52

Sat, day, 26 Jun - 03 Jul '21

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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What is the course about?

We will explore how Hopkins developed a new, fully thought-out approach to poetry using the full resources of English and important concepts like sprung rhythm and instress. He used these to write poems of unprecedented, ecstatic joyfulness in responding to the natural world and the power of God in the natural world. These feelings are also expressed in his journals.

We will also look at why Hopkins converted to Roman Catholicism at the same time as falling in love with Digby Mackworth Dolben, resulting in estrangement from his family; at his decision to join a particularly strict order, the Jesuits; and at how Jesuit disapproval of his first mature poem, ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’, led to his decision not to publish his poetry. He left it to his friend, Robert Bridges, a very cautious poet who delayed publication for nearly 30 years after Hopkins’ death in 1889 at the age of 44.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

We will read and discuss many of Hopkins’ poems, both expressing his love of God in nature and also expressing his own emotional turmoil, together with some extracts from his journals. We will also look at the poems in which he is tentatively able to express homoerotic desire.

In this context we will consider why Hopkins felt unable to express love of another man as Tennyson had done so successfully and famously in In Memoriam A.H.H. (1850). We will also discuss how different English poetry might have been if Hopkins had published his poems in his lifetime rather than leaving them for Bridges to publish nearly 30 years after his death. (Appearing in 1918 when everyone was engrossed by the First World War, they took years to be noticed, but then had very strong influence on younger poets like W H Auden and Dylan Thomas.).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Understand why Hopkins wrote highly original poetry which was unpublished in his lifetime
• Appreciate the beauty and power of Hopkins’ poetry
• Enjoy reading and discussing many of his poems and extracts from his journals.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You should be interested in reading and discussing some remarkable poetry. No particular knowledge or skills are needed.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The day will be run in a seminar style with all students included in reading and discussing the poems, led by the tutor, and some small-group discussions with feedback.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You are welcome to bring your own copy of Hopkins’ poems, but this isn’t necessary as I will provide copies of all the poems together with the extracts from Hopkins’ journals.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other poetry courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/History, Culture and Writing/literature/poetry.

Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith has taught poetry writing and literature courses at the City Lit for some years, focussing on modernism and writers' radicalism. He researches and lectures at King's College London, helped to found Magma poetry magazine which he sometimes edits and has been a Trustee of the Poetry Society.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.