Gerard Manley Hopkins and Walter Pater : the labyrinths of transience


  • Mirko Starčević Ljubljana



English literature / Gerard Manley Hopkins / Walter Pater / Romanticism / Flux / Beauty


Transience forming life's very essence left an indelible mark on the creative explorations of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Walter Pater. The permanently indeterminable presence of mutability made both of them face the umbrous and unknowable aspect of death, thus revealing unto them the task of determining the role of art in life ruled by ceaseless corrosion. Pater accepts the flux of mutability as the primary particle in the revelatory act of the authentic creative experience. The power of that which is frolicsome in art augments the constitution of life's essence submerged in the unsettled condition of fate. Hopkins the priest particularly in his theoretic excursions recognizes in art itself only an approximate value to the timeless grandeur of God's ubiquity. His poetry, however, presents a dissimilar narrative. The poetic image that Hopkins forges corresponds to the mode of exposed individuality of the Romantic spirit, which Pater perceives as the harmony of strangeness and beauty. During Hopkins' student days at Oxford, Pater's relationship to the young poet was not confined to coaching only. Much of their time they spent in conversation, meditating upon the essential principles of artistic expression. Pater influenced Hopkins greatly and contributed impressively to the discipline of his poetic heart. Traces of this companionship do not find the path to Hopkins' religious ruminations; they announce their own existence, although very subtly, upon the individual levels of Hopkins' poetic yearnings.


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How to Cite

Starčević, M. (2016). Gerard Manley Hopkins and Walter Pater : the labyrinths of transience. Acta Neophilologica, 49(1-2), 85–108.