Gerard Manley HOPKINS   |   Robert BRIDGES

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HOPKINS, Gerard Manley. Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Now First Published. Edited with Notes by Robert Bridges. London: Humphrey Milford, (1918). Small octavo, original half raw linen, pale blue boards, paper spine label, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box.

Rare first edition, one of only 750 copies, containing the first appearances of many of Hopkins’ poems, with two photogravure portraits and two double-page facsimiles.

Written in the 1870s and 1880s, "these extraordinary poems… took time to circulate and influenced the poets of the 'thirties… Hopkins's poetry with its religious faith, his experiments in versification, his 'dark night of the soul' would have reduced all his Victorian contemporaries to immediate insignificance— like Rimbaud's in France— had they but known of him" (Connolly, The Modern Movement, 33). Hopkins, widely considered the first modern poet, remained largely unappreciated in his lifetime. After converting to Catholicism from the Church of England, he entered the Jesuit order and resolved "to write no more." Seven years later, when a shipwreck claimed the lives of five Franciscan nuns, Hopkins' rector requested a poem in their honor. "The Wreck of the Deutschland" reversed Hopkins' self-imposed silence. Other equally startling poems followed. After his death in 1889, his friend, the Poet Laureate Robert Bridges, began to publish a few of the poems individually, and in 1918, edited and published this first collected edition. Without very scarce dust jacket. Owner ink signature on half title; ink gift inscription dated 1922 on front free endpaper. Small bookseller label on rear pastedown.

Interior clean, light soiling to binding and a bit of toning to extremities, spine label rubbed. An extremely good copy. Rare.

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