Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) once expressed his conviction that "every true poet … must be original … so that each poet is like a species in nature … and can never recur." If there is one charge to which Hopkins is least vulnerable, it is the lack of originality. However, his very obvious distinctiveness often makes him difficult to understand. He was not unaware of the fact: "No doubt my poetry errs on the side of oddness. … Now it is the virtue of design, pattern or inscape to be distinctive and it is the vice of distinctiveness to become queer. The vice I cannot have escaped."

The author of this article, Rev. Adrian J. McCarthy, S.M., is Associate Professor of English at the University of Dayton.



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