Gerard Manley Hopkins spent five unhappy years in Ireland before his death in 1889, during which time he wrote perhaps the most interesting group of all his poems. Although he is one of the most well known and liked of poets, he is still one of the least understood. This is a full-length study of Hopkins's time in Ireland, when he was Professor of Classics at University College Dublin, and it is both a biography and a critical account of the poetry. Norman White examines the poet's personality and shows him as a sick and self-lacerating human being. This is not a conventional biography and it does not aim to be an account of Hopkins's doings in Ireland: the important things that happened to Hopkins in Ireland were mental, and so the book is an exploration of the poems written in Ireland largely as a form of psychological biography, working outwards from Hopkins's most intimate creations.
Hopkins in England, Wales and Scotland
England and Ireland
Spelt from Sibyl's Leaves
To Seem the Stranger
Now Done Darkness
The Portrait' The Epithalamian
Tom, Dick and Harry
That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire
Retreat at Rahan, New Year 1889
"[White] treats each poem in great detail, placing each in the context of the poet's experiences of Ireland at a particular moment in his life and examining the way in which the poem is a reflection of Hopkins' mental biography."
Bookview Ireland June 2002
"Award winning biographer of Hopkins, White with cool expertise fills in the details of the poet's miserable sojourn as classics professor at Newman's university in Dublin. There is also critical commentary on the poet's towering achievement since his best writing came from the Irish period according to most critics. Excellent companion to Hopkins' scholarship."
Books Ireland Sept 2002
"White is the recognised authority on Hopkins and this informative study should add to his deserved reputation."
The Irish Examiner Oct 2002
"in its impeccable scholarship and consistently sensitive responses to the poems, an indispensable work for anyone interested in Hopkins. And this handsome publication from the UCD Press, written moreover by a former UCD lecturer, may belatedly atone, to a small extent, for Hopkin's tribulations in the older UCD."
Irish Times, Oct 2002
"This account of Hopkins' time in Ireland is based on the author's rigorous consultation of the original manuscripts. His knowledge of the manuscript material, both published and unpublished, is unrivalled. Other original source material, including the accounts of University College, is ingeniously and enlighteningly exploited ... Norman White's prose style is outstandingly clear and expressive. This makes his study a pleasure to read quite apart from its subject ... attractively printed and made."
The Hopkins Quarterly XXX, 3-4 Summer-Fall 2003
"written with passionate commitment to the poems and the plight of the author ... the detailed analysis of the poems are often moving as well as wonderfully enriching. They are interpretations that should be read by all students of Hopkins."
C. L. Phillips, Downing College, Cambridge Notes and Queries Sept 2003