Hopkins' poetry

Resources on Hopkins

Further Reading

  • Bottrall, Margaret (ed.) Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1975

    This is in the Casebook Series, which gives edited essays from the past up to the present. So we get extracts of Hopkins' own letters; early criticism; then later criticism, including chapters on The Windhover, Tom's Garland, and The Terrible Sonnets. There is also a chapter trying to elucidate the mysteries of inscape. The series is designed more for undergraduates, but if you feel up to it, try a few chapters.

  • Gardner W.H. Gerard Manley Hopkins (2 volumes). London: Oxford University Press, 1949

    This is subtitled ‘A Study of Poetic Idiosyncrasy in Relation to Poetic Tradition', which gives you an idea of how erudite the book is. Volume I contains a long chapter on The Wreck of the Deutschland, some of which is quite technical; a chapter on Diction and Syntax; and one on Themes and Imagery. Volume II gives some of Hopkins' background and considers his achievement. It's best to use the index and just select exactly what you're looking for. If you're an undergraduate, then you could grapple with more, but you need to be doing a postgraduate study to read the whole work. But it still is the standard work on Hopkins.

  • White, Norman. Hopkins: A Literary Biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992

    This is one of those useful books that combine biography with intelligent comments on the poems in the order in which he wrote them. Again, best to use the index and just go for exactly what you need as the book is some 500 plus pages long.


[Note: Remember that websites – including this one – are secondary resources like any other. It is important to check the source of the site and to find out about the author(s). Also, remember that any material you draw from the site should be clearly referenced in essays or project work.]

Many websites contain only minimal biographical information. Some of the more useful ones are:-


  • This is the official website for the Gerard Manley Hopkins Society, which has its headquarters in Monasterevin, Ireland, and also of the annual conference/ Summer School held there. Some of the material may be rather too academic for your immediate needs.


  • The University of Dundee have an extensive website on Hopkins, including this concordance. A concordance is a list of every single word that a book contains, plus where it is to be found in that book. Usually only the Bible and Shakespeare have concordances devoted to them. But this is useful if you want to trace an image through his poems.


  • This is the Catholic Education website, with many useful related links on it.


  • Mainly for teachers, this contains a number of ideas of how to teach Hopkins. Unfortunately, it only analyses twelve poems, and those rather at undergraduate level.


  • This gives useful summaries of themes and suggests likely exam questions, but there is no attempt to analyse any of the poems.

Other Resources

Poetry readings


  • CD entitled Back to Beauty's Giver, of Richard Austin reading the poetry of Hopkins. The readings are dramatic and may well give you further insights into meaning. The CD is privately distributed at 22 Bryanston Street, Blandford, Dorset, England DT11 7AZ. For a preview, log on to


  • http://librivox.org/spring-and-fall-by-gerard-manley-hopkins

    contains 11 different readings of the poem Spring and Fall.

Musical settings

  • Sean O'Leary (b.1953), a Catholic songwriter, has produced a collection of contemporary settings, entitled The Alchemist. Details on the


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