A few minutes ago, I ran across a New Criterion review of the new OUP edition of the diaries and journals of Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. I’ve mentioned Hopkins before — how when I first encountered his work (during my teens), I had no idea of how to parse the work, and no understanding of why he was such a big deal. Eventually, I grew up enough to get it (I think), and I find he gains wisdom and beauty every time I read or teach his work. As my hero Northrop Frye once said “Read Blake or go to Hell” (which he meant very nearly literally), I find myself wanting to say “Read Hopkins, for the love of God.”
The quote I want to share, however, is not from Hopkins, but from Paul Dean, the writer of the review. He discusses the profound psychological and spiritual agonies that Hopkins endured for much of his life, and ends the article by noting:
“[A]ll vocations, whether literary or religious, come at a price.”
I’ll try to put a potpourri together when I get up again, some hours from now.