1st Edition

The Philosophical Mysticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins

By Aakanksha Virkar Yates Copyright 2018
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    Through the lens of Hopkins's 'masterwork', The Philosophical Mysticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins readdresses Hopkins's frequently overlooked mysticism as an interior narrative within his corpus. Drawing on a range of religious, literary and visual traditions from Augustine's Confessions to the seventeenth-century spiritual emblem, this book demonstrates the ways in which the Wreck deliberately constructs and conceals a mystical and contemplative narrative. Typology and allegory are some of the important hermeneutic tools used in this re-reading of Hopkins, relating the poet to the discursive tradition surrounding the Old Testament Song of Songs, the philosophical theology of the Greek Fathers, and, perhaps most intriguingly, the meditative and visual tradition of the baroque heart-emblem. On the centenary of the publication of Hopkins’s poems, this book places the writer firmly within a mystical tradition, necessitating a fundamental reconsideration of the legacy of this major Victorian poet.


    1. "Rare-Dear Gerard": Hopkins and the Early Fathers

    2. Divine Labour: Contemplation, Energeia, Stress

    3. Tractarian Mysticism and Indwelling Grace

    4. Baptism and Ascent: Created Corruptible, Raised Incorruptible

    5. Sacramental Typology and Second Nature

    6. Origen and the Song of Songs

    7. The Visible and Invisible in Augustine’s Confessions

    8. Emblems of the Heart

    9. Love, Spirit, Breath, Fire

    10. The Paradise Within

    11. Bibliography


    Aakanksha Virkar Yates is a Lecturer in English literature at the University of Brighton, specialising in nineteenth century and modern literature. Her research is fundamentally interdisciplinary, placing literary works in dialogue with theology, philosophy, visual culture and music. Working in the growing field of inter-art studies, Dr. Virkar Yates is also the recipient of several awards, from the Nehru Trust for Cambridge University, the J. N. Tata Fund and recently a Rising Stars award from the University of Brighton.

    "Close reading of Hopkins’ never less than challenging verse is pursued in this book with theological rigour and learning in a manner that will ensure that it will become a central resource in scholarship on the finest of late nineteenth English poets... a work of fine scholarship, theologically learned and poetically sensitive, and yet at the same time spiritually acute and attentive to the delicate, complex world of Hopkins and his writings. This is a book to be treasured and pondered upon." -- Professor David Jasper, Literature and Theology