Hopkins

luka

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from everyones favourite webpage "Victorianweb"




In his journals, Gerard Manley Hopkins used two terms, "inscape" and "instress," which can cause some confusion. By "inscape" he means the unified complex of characteristics that give each thing its uniqueness and that differentiate it from other things, and by "instress" he means either the force of being which holds the inscape together or the impulse from the inscape which carries it whole into the mind of the beholder:


There is one notable dead tree . . . the inscape markedly holding its most simple and beautiful oneness up from the ground through a graceful swerve below (I think) the spring of the branches up to the tops of the timber. I saw the inscape freshly, as if my mind were still growing, though with a companion the eye and the ear are for the most part shut and instress cannot come.

The concept of inscape shares much with Wordsworth's "spots of time," Emerson's "moments," and Joyce's "epiphanies," showing it to be a characteristically Romantic and post-Romantic idea. But Hopkins' inscape is also fundamentally religious: a glimpse of the inscape of a thing shows us why God created it. "Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:/ . . myself it speaks and spells,/ Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came. "
 

luka

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[Hopkins] felt that everything in the universe was characterized by what he called inscape, the distinctive design that constitutes individual identity. This identity is not static but dynamic. Each being in the universe 'selves,' that is, enacts its identity. And the human being, the most highly selved, the most individually distinctive being in the universe, recognizes the inscape of other beings in an act that Hopkins calls instress, the apprehension of an object in an intense thrust of energy toward it that enables one to realize specific distinctiveness. Ultimately, the instress of inscape leads one to Christ, for the individual identity of any object is the stamp of divine creation on it.[3]
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
The theoretic stuff about inscape and the sprung rhythms is fascinating but my personal experience is sometimes it's got in the way of me just appreciating the poems themselves. But that's what tends to happen with me, I read the background notes more than the thing itself.

I only vaguely understood the echo poem but it didn't matter because it was so bewitchingly written.
 

luka

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often they have a dramatic soliloquy aspect to them, speech wrung out of the highest pitch of emotion
 

DLaurent

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Inscape was the thing that drew me to Hopkins in the first place but I never got beyond the theory and to actually pick that theory out of his poems. I always thought he was a handsome chap though. So an interesting thread to me.
 

luka

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HARD as hurdle arms, with a broth of goldish flue
Breathed round; the rack of ribs; the scooped flank; lank
Rope-over thigh; knee-nave; and barrelled shank—
Head and foot, shoulder and shank—
By a grey eye’s heed steered well, one crew, fall to;
5
Stand at stress. Each limb’s barrowy brawn, his thew
That onewhere curded, onewhere sucked or sank—
Soared or sank—,
Though as a beechbole firm, finds his, as at a roll-call, rank
And features, in flesh, what deed he each must do—
10
His sinew-service where do.
He leans to it, Harry bends, look. Back, elbow, and liquid waist
In him, all quail to the wallowing o’ the plough: ’s cheek crimsons; curls
Wag or crossbridle, in a wind lifted, windlaced—
See his wind- lilylocks -laced;
15
Churlsgrace, too, child of Amansstrength, how it hangs or hurls
Them—broad in bluff hide his frowning feet lashed! raced
With, along them, cragiron under and cold furls—
With-a-fountain’s shining-shot furls.
 

DLaurent

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they say he was a gay

"Poetry is gay" that's a quote from a famous romantic I can't place. Always expected more landscape romanticism from Hopkins from the inscape thing but I can't find it. I'm looking at it wrong because of the theory.
 

luka

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i dont think there is a huge amount of landscape its more to do with stress, tension, ructions, ruptures, forces, breaks, blockages, floods, overflowings. you can write about landscape in that way, JH Prynne does exactly that but from memory there's not a huge amount in Hopkins
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I think the inscape idea manifests itself in the constant restless, anxious piling on, flitting between and linking of words. The result is a sort of deconstruction which captures something concrete but mutable about things.
 

luka

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you can read back from the paused moment landscape presents to see it as a culmination or as a stage in a dynamic process
 

luka

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Harry is all about load-bearing, resistance, muscled tension, a map of forces
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Landscape is never actually pinned down and settled. I was out today in the hills. Being out there, it's all these fleeting sensations and feelings, surges of excitement etc. It's never the picture postcard, although there are moments (soooo momentary) of settled calm.
 

luka

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no thats true i just meant that the hills and the lie of the land is moving at such a minute pace that it might as well be paused our eye wont witness its movements
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I keep wanting to link it to Cezanne, perhaps unhelpfully, perhaps pretentiously. It's that thing of anxiety/excitement to render the real resulting in strokes of uncertainty, so that you can see the attempt to capture as much/more than the captured thing itself.
 
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