Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems

Poetry of Protest: An Exploration of Christina Rossetti and Gerard Manley Hopkins College

It is not difficult to see the parallels in the lives and works of Christina Rossetti and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Both poets suffered bouts of depression, both were involved in the Tractarian movement – with Hopkins converting to Roman Catholicism and Rossetti remaining High Anglican - and both used their medium to fuse religiosity with personal struggles. Nevertheless, these similarities within a shared poetic genre, which is often considered to uphold “a uniform world-view or ideological focus”[i], make potential differences between the poets all the more distinct. While Rossetti favours protest through subtext and silence, Hopkins externalises his fiery emotions onto a poetic landscape. The extent to which both poets display protest in their works can be explored through how their poetry challenges gender norms of the era, the poetic form itself, and how this interacted with their religious convictions. While Rossetti was certainly ambivalence towards contemporary issues such as women’s rights, her religious vocabulary acts as a tool for agency, particularly in critiquing the dynamics of male female relations. Likewise, although Hopkins protests against established poetic rules in his experimentation with form and metre, his...

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