Gerard Manley Hopkins

Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins

Profile: Gerard Manley Hopkins was an English poet and Jesuit priest and academic. He was born in Stratford, Essex. He was the eldest child in the family of 9 children to Catherine and Manley Hopkins. As a poet, Hopkins father published a number of works, wrote one novel and reviewed poetry for The Times. Both his parents were high church Anglicans and very religious. Initially, Hopkins wanted to become a painter, sketched a lot and felt deeply inspired by the works of Pre-Raphaelites and John Ruskin, as an adult. Later on he became a skilled draughtsman, trained in visual art which help in supporting his later work as a poet. Creative arts, religion and language inspired his siblings, a lot. His sister Kate would help him in publishing the first poetry edition, while Grace his younger sister set many of his poems to music.


Gerard Manley Hopkins learnt classics, at Balliol College, Oxford and started his time as a prolific poet and keen socialite in Oxford. Later he fell into a lifelong relationship with Robert Bridges which was vital in his development as poet and in the establishment of his posthumous acclaim. Works of Christina Rossetti impressed him a lot. He took up duties as a teacher and sub-minister at Mount St. Mary’s College near Sheffield. Later he became a curate at the Jesuit church in Mount Street, London and at St. Aloysious’s Church, Oxford after which he moved to Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. He taught Latin and Greek at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire and St. Mary’s College, Sheffield. He became professor of Latin and Green at University College Dublin. During is last five years, he restricted his poetic inspiration as many issues led to his melancholic state.


Writing style:

Published Texts:

Selected Well Known Poems


Binsey Poplars

Pied Beauty

The Windhover: To Christ our Lord

The Wreck of the Deutschland




Richard Austin reads Hopkins’s poetry in Black to Beauty’s Giver.

Jeremy Northam reads Hopkins’s poetry in The Great Poets.

American singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant set Hopkins’s poem Spring and Fall: To a Young Child to music on her 2010 album Leave Your Sleep.

Author Simon Edge reads The Wreck of the Deutschland in a recording to accompany his novel The Hopkins Conundrum.

Paul Kelly (Australian musician) sings God’s Grandeur on his 2018 album Nature

Lance Pierson has made two recordings of Hopkins poems which are now available as a podcast.

Awards and Acknowledgements:

Won the poetry prize at the Highgate grammar school.

1863 – Awarded a grant to study at Balliol College, Oxford, where he continued writing poetry while studying classics.

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