Summer “What We’re Reading” Wednesday I

Near the top of my list is Paul Mariani’s new biography, Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life (Viking 2008).  A well-known poet and biographer who teaches English at Boston College, I was attracted to his work through his previous memoir of an Ignatian retreat titled Thirty Days (Viking 2002). My interest in Hopkins’ life was sparked by Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (Harvard 2007) who draws upon Hopkins for one of his ‘surprising new itineraries’ of spiritual life in a secular age. That’s highly recommended, too, for those who haven’t have a chance to work through it yet.  And of course, to go along with the Hopkins biography, I’ll be rereading his poems which I have in a lovely old version boxed hardback copy published by Peter Pauper Press, Mt. Vernon, New York.

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  1. Paul Mariani spoke at the Siena Center lectures here in Chicago this past spring, largely on the work of Hopkins. I knew Mariani’s work through his wonderful “God and the Imagination” and was very interested to hear his perspectives on Hopkins, who is one of my favorite “Victorian” (I hate applying that rather baggage-laden term to Hopkins) poets. The lecture was terrific, and this biography is definitely a worthwhile read, even for – or particularly for – those who are not poetically inclined!

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