Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

21/03/2019 by BBC Radio 4

Web player:

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and works of Hopkins (1844-89), a Jesuit priest who at times burned his poems and at others insisted they should not be published. His main themes are how he, nature and God relate to each other. His friend Robert Bridges preserved Hopkins’ poetry and, once printed in 1918, works such as The Windhover, Pied Beauty and As Kingfishers Catch Fire were celebrated for their inventiveness and he was seen as a major poet, perhaps the greatest of the Victorian age.


Catherine Phillips
R J Owens Fellow in English at Downing College, University of Cambridge

Jane Wright
Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Bristol


Martin Dubois
Assistant Professor in Nineteenth Century Literature at Durham University

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Listen Date: 2019-03-03


  • This episode went into a high level of detail about the techniques of poetry. I don’t remember everything that was mentioned, or even understand it enough to think of other poems where it would apply, but at least I now know that these things exist and can explain why some poetry appeals to some people. I’m grateful for that.
  • Listening to the podcast, I wondered if GMH was closeted gay; and converted to Catholicism as a way to cope with that.
  • Maybe the thing which sent me down that direction was hearing the discussion of how he kept swinging between asceticism and the sensuousness of his poetry.


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