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Full Access Catholic Predilections in the Poetics of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Seamus Heaney

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Catholic Predilections in the Poetics of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Seamus Heaney

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Seamus Heaney has reiterated the importance of Gerard Manley Hopkins in shaping his own poetic voice. This essay studies the way Hopkins’s and Heaney’s poetics are related to their Catholic formation. While their sacramental approaches to language and their ideas of grace and self-discipline result in similar linguistic and formal features in their poems, the two poets’ different understandings of the temporality of the world/Word also gives rise to the contrast between Hopkins’s poetic rendering of dynamic, variegated existence and Heaney’s vision of a realm of “verbless” purity. Based on an understanding of the world as everoccurring Incarnation, Hopkins’s poems often foreground a dialogic, transgressive element, trying to capture the vivifying principle of the Word, whereas Heaney’s anxiety to override the contingencies of time gradually lures him to a visionary space where time is momentarily suspended and actions frozen.


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Affiliations: 1: University of International Business and Economics, Beijing


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