Gerard Manley Hopkins : critical perceptions of his relation to poetic tradition to 1970
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The aim of this thesis has been to make an accurate assessment of the developments in Hopkins criticism up until 1970, with overriding emphasis on perceptions of his relation to poetic tradition. The chosen methodology involves a chapter by chapter discussion of Hopkins' perceived relation to individual poets or groups of poets. Generally, each chapter opens with an examination of Hopkins' published correspondence, scrutinizing his own criticism of the poet or poets in question, and proceeds in a chronological survey of the ways in which critics and reviewers have related him to the predecessor in question. Material covered in the thesis includes major published works on Hopkins; articles and reviews in scholarly periodicals, as well as more popular journals and some newspapers; and other critical works where Hopkins receives some degree of attention. The 'cutoff' point of this study is 1970, although a final chapter has been appended with a less detailed survey of the developments from 1970 to the present day. On certain occasions, I have ventured to investigate more fully some areas of Hopkins' literary genetics that seem not to have received the attention they deserve. In general, however, the focus of the thesis is upon the perceptions of the critics, and attempts are made to assess the ways in which Hopkins' fluctuating critical standing has altered these perceptions and vice versa. One of the most frequently recurring demands has been the need to try and determine why Hopkins has been related to different poets and different poetic traditions at different times. To provide a more 'three-dimensional' perspective, two chapters are devoted to exploring the ways in which Hopkins has been perceived as an influence on twentieth century poetry, in general terms, and in specific cases. In conclusion, a 'map' of the territory of Hopkins' criticism charting the perceived relations between his oeuvre and poetic tradition is proposed. And, with a necessary emphasis on the provisional (particularly with the post-1970 study taken into account), some suggestions are made for new directions in this area of study.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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