Critical reception

  • R. J. C. Watt
Part of the Macmillan Master Guides book series


Hopkins died in 1889. Yet with only minor exceptions, his poetry remained unpublished until 1918. Though not entirely averse to the idea of publication, he could not find it in his conscience to take any steps which might promote his own fame as a poet. He could happily advise his friends to publish and try to be known, not for fame but for the good the work might do. But his own first duty was that of a priest. ‘If we care for fine verses how much more for a noble life.’ He contented himself with an audience of two or three friends. Though his own brilliant and witty letters are full of the most acute literary criticism, he once said that Christ was the only true literary critic and the only one who mattered. He did not even keep a complete collection of fair copies of his own poems. He did, however, help his friend Robert Bridges to do so. 


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© R. J. C. Watt 1987

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