Gerard Manley Hopkins’s Diaries (1862–66) and Journals (1866–75) have received relatively little critical attention. They are studied principally as a means to more fully understanding the poetry. In fact, Hopkins was working out his ideas in prose concerning the proper place of art and beauty in religious life long before he expressed that conviction in the sonnets that he composed in Wales in 1877. The Diaries and Journals articulate what is conventionally attributed only to the poems: that in perceiving nature so intensely, sensuously, and deeply, he was discovering the sacramental presence of God in Creation. As we study Hopkins’s poetry, the Diaries and Journals must be acknowledged, not as mere shadows of the poems to come but as prior evidence of his spiritually charged perceptual processes, and his command of the powers of language to express his mystical experience.


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pp. 151-169
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