Norfolk, Connecticut: New Directions, 1945. First edition. Octavo, original white staplebound wrappers, original printed dust jacket, lettered in dark red. Fine. Item #526
"ANOTHER DAY IN THE EVENING AFTER LITANIES AS FATHER RECTOR WAS GIVING THE POINTS FOR MEDITATION I SHUT MY EYES, BEING VERY TIRED, AND WITHOUT CEASING TO HEAR HIM BEGAN TO DREAM"
First edition of these excerpts from Gerard Manley Hopkins's workbooks and manuscripts, the unvarnished "raw material" underlying his poetry. Hopkins published very little and was virtually unknown as a poet during his short lifetime. This anonymity lends a supreme importance to the private papers that yielded these passages, selected and reprinted from the first collected edition of The Note-Books and Papers of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Oxford University Press, 1937).
The English Jesuit was acutely sensitive to the uniqueness of all things in creation, "experiences that he called 'inscape', a term for which he was indebted to his interest in the medieval thinker Duns Scotus, by which he was transported by nature or God. What Hopkins seems to have sensed in Scotus was a Franciscan appreciation of the God-created particularity (haeccitas) of each thing in the universe." Inscape represented, for Hopkins, "a kind of Scotist convergence between the particularities of the world and poetic language, on the one hand, and the individual things of the world that simultaneously 'body forth' the Christ on the other." (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision).
The selections are prefaced by "The Apprenticeship of Gerard Manley Hopkins," the editor's thoughtful introduction: "Hopkins' meticulousness properly expressed itself in terms of his daily world. His affection, Dutch-like, for domestic furniture and the features of the body everywhere asserts itself. Everywhere rain or rocks, sea or snow toes the earth. Eyelids and veins, brows and fingers, man is the scrupulous measure of Hopkins' world." From the publisher's The Poets of the Year series, which included editions of Herman Melville and Thomas Merton, each edition printed by a different fine press. This edition was designed by Carl Rollins (the first Printer to Yale University) and printed for New Directions by the Printing Office of Yale University Press in May 1945. A nice book for a student of Hopkins.