Hopkins, Gerard Manley
1844 - Hopkins, Gerard Manley, born on the 28th of July in Stratford, Essex, England. Hopkins was the eldest of the nine children of Manley Hopkins, an Anglican, who had been British consul general in Hawaii and had himself published verse.
1863 - Won the poetry prize at the Highgate grammar school and was awarded a grant to study at Balliol College, Oxford, where he continued writing poetry while studying classics.
1866 - In the prevailing atmosphere of the Oxford Movement, which renewed interest in the relationships between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church by John Henry, later Cardinal, Newman.
1867 - He left Oxford with such a distinguished academic record that Benjamin Jowett, then a Balliol lecturer and later master of the college, called him “the star of Balliol.” Hopkins decided to become a priest.
1868 - He entered the Jesuit novitiate and burned his youthful verses, determining “to write no more, as not belonging to my profession.”
1874 - Went to St. Beuno's College in North Wales to study theology. There he learned Welsh, and, under the impact of the language itself as well as that of the poetry and encouraged by his superior, he began to write poetry again.
1875 - Moved by the death of five Franciscan nuns in a shipwreck, he broke his seven-year silence to write the long poem “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” in which he succeeded in realizing “the echo of a new rhythm” that had long been haunting his ear. It was rejected, however, by the Jesuit magazine The Month.
1877 - Ordained to the priesthood, Hopkins served as missioner, occasional preacher, and parish priest in various Jesuit churches and institutions in London, Oxford, Liverpool, and Glasgow and taught classics at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire.
1884 - He was appointed professor of Greek literature at University College, Dublin. But Hopkins was not happy in Ireland; he found the environment uncongenial, and he was overworked and in poor health.
1885 - He wrote another series of sonnets, beginning with “Carrion Comfort.” They show a sense of desolation produced partly by a sense of spiritual aridity and partly by a feeling of artistic frustration. These poems, known as the “terrible sonnets,” reveal strong tensions between his delight in the sensuous world and his urge to express it and his equally powerful sense of religious vocation.
1889 - Died on the 8th of June in Dublin due to typhoid fever and was buried in the Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Among his unfinished works was a commentary on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order.
Page last updated: 7:03am, 12th Mar '07