Boston: David Godine, 1971. Limited edition. Tall thin octavo (10 1/2 inches tall), original decorated paper boards, original printed paper label. About-fine. Item #644
"NOW BURN, NEW BORN TO THE WORLD, / DOUBLE-NATURED NAME, / THE HEAVEN-FLUNG, HEART FLESHED, MAIDEN-FURLED / MIRACLE-IN-MARY-OF-FLAME" Elegant limited edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins's feverish lament for five Franciscan nuns who perished at sea, published nearly a century after Hopkins created "a new convergence of the religious and poetic in a way that gives freshness to both" (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision). In December 1875, the nuns, fleeing from repression in Bismarck's Germany, died when their ship sank in a storm at the mouth of the Thames. At the request of his Jesuit superior, Hopkins managed to set aside the internal struggle between his competing religious and artistic vocations to compose a startling new poem. The 35 stanzas, divided between a "Part the First" of ten stanzas and a "Part the Second" of 25 more, were a pivotal moment for poetry: "The opening stanza of the Wreck of the Deutschland immediately speaks in a new voice, a voice containing the taut rhythms and extraordinary word combinations of Hopkins at his highest pitch" (Royal). The poem is accompanied by a short Introduction by James Dickey, reprinted here several years after its first appearance in 1966. Dickey lavishes praise on Hopkins for this "best poem of the nineteenth-century" declaring, "Hopkins's Wreck of the Deutschland represented a new direction, an entire new set of possibilities and techniques for English poetry." With dedication "To the happy memory of five Franciscan Nuns exiles by the Falk Laws drowned between midnight & morning of Dec. 7th, 1875." A lovely example from the limited edition of only 1250 copies, finely printed on good paper and smartly bound with a limitation page in striped paper boards. Royal, A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.