A Heart Lost in Wonder: The Life and Faith of Gerard Manley Hopkins by Catharine Randall

A Heart Lost in Wonder: The Life and Faith of Gerard Manley Hopkins cover imageSummary: Brief biography of a Catholic Priest/Poet who was only published posthumously. 

I am not a very good poetry reader. I appreciate poetry theoretically and enjoy the technical work of the poet. I am fascinated by the rhyme schemes and structure. I believe in how poetry forces us to think and process words that have multiple meanings. However, I just do not read poetry as much as I should because it takes more work and time. But that very work and time is part of why I theoretically appreciate poetry even if I do not practice what I value theoretically.

Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of those Christian poets that, if you have a little bit of knowledge of his poetry, you will see references to it all over the place. Several of Eugene Peterson’s book titles are references to his poetry. And many other modern authors also reference his lines of poetry. Hopkins died young. He converted to Catholicism against his family’s wishes in the mid 19th century as a young man. He fairly quickly became a Jesuit priest, following in the steps of John Henry Newman.

Gerald Manley Hopkins loved writing but also was conflicted about his writing because he thought, at times, it distracted him from his devotion to God. At least once, Hopkins destroyed a significant amount of his poetry. And his Jesuit order destroyed a significant amount of his poetry at his death. After his death, his friend Robert Bridges and others published his poetry, often collecting it from letters.

Hopkins was influential in changing meter and rhyme in English poetry. And he uses evocative imagery. So, where A Heart Lost in Wonder is helpful is introducing Hopkin’s poetry. There are biographical details here, but less than I would have preferred. And while the book did introduce his poetry and frequently referenced it. But I do not have a lot of background in his poetry, so I think I just connected less to the book because I did not know the poetry well enough.

The Kindle edition is still only $4.99 as I am posting this. It is part of the Eerdman’s Library of Religious Biography series. I generally really like the series, but I think this was one of the weaker editions.

A Heart Lost in Wonder: The Life and Faith of Gerard Manley Hopkins by Catharine Randall Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

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