Gerard Manley Hopkins and the stigma of meter

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This essay reconsiders Hopkins's uses of the metrical mark - the physical, material mark on the page - that has been erased in many editions and critical considerations of his poetry. I argue that our engagement with the poet's meter has missed the mark: it has failed to note Hopkins's complicated relationship with (and resistance to) the physical mark, which acts as the indicator not only of his innovative sprung rhythm but also, mote importantly, of his spiritual hopes for an English nation united (and disciplined) by meter. In The Wreck of the Deutschland, Hopkins struggles with the stigma of the metrical mark; words are made flesh, scored and scarred, and meter is transformed into spiritual and national allegory. The mark, then, is essential to understanding Hopkins's metaphysics, his way of seeing words as things, things as words, and the stress that governs them both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
JournalVictorian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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