Date of Award

Spring 1955

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Virginia Shaddy


GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS (1044-1889) Englishman, Oxford scholar. Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest has acquired a fame in recent years not accorded to him daring his lifetime. This fame is well deserved, although it is almost a century tardy, for it is in recognition of his masterful poetry which was not published for more than twenty-five years after the poet's death. Through the efforts of his life-long friend, poet Robert Bridges, the public was introduced gradually to his sprung rhythms and to the other striking poetic and linguistic innovations (notably 'inscape', 'instress', counter-point, and onomatopoetics) which by this date have influenced a whole world of modern poets.

This paper will endeavor to defend the thesis that in Hopkins, nature and supernature, poet and priest, aestheticism and asceticism are fused so completely and in such a way that the one concept of Christianity which emerges, and which is most representative of his attitudes and attributes, is the doctrine of the Mystical Body. A study of Hopkins' techniques is not the purpose of this paper. The means which Hopkins perfected to communicate to us a poetry of exquisite worth will not be analyzed extensively . Therefore techniques will be defined and discussed only insofar as it is necessary and consistent to do so in conjunction with the central concern of this paper: The Concept of the Mystical Body in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins.