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“Almost unmade”: Hopkins and the Body Apocalyptic

“Almost unmade”: Hopkins and the Body Apocalyptic Erin M. Goss wenty-first-century criticism has located in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins a concern with universal dissolution. According to Jude nixon, for example, Hopkins' poetry expresses a response to Victorian fears induced by the formulation of the second law of thermodynamics, which suggested the tendency of all systems to become increasingly disorganized as they approach a state of "entropic death."1 nixon claims that Hopkins attempts to alleviate this "apocalyptic angst" "by asserting that the energy . . . sustaining the universe is indestructible because its origin is divine" (pp. 149, 146).2 Analogously, though focusing on animal behavior rather than thermodynamic tendencies, Michael Lackey finds in Hopkins a response to a speculative atheistic position that used nature's amorality to undermine the notion of divine presence as guide to the events of the natural world. For Lackey, Hopkins affirms the possibility of redemption by claiming that the apparent lack of divinity in world events (and here, one could include political events with natural ones) is necessary in order for "charged moments" of divine manifestation to emerge.3 Evidence of barrenness or amorality that his contemporaries use to argue against the presence of God becomes a sign in a dialectic http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

“Almost unmade”: Hopkins and the Body Apocalyptic

Victorian Poetry , Volume 49 (1) – Apr 14, 2011

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West Virginia University Press
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Copyright © West Virginia University Press
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1530-7190
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Abstract

Erin M. Goss wenty-first-century criticism has located in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins a concern with universal dissolution. According to Jude nixon, for example, Hopkins' poetry expresses a response to Victorian fears induced by the formulation of the second law of thermodynamics, which suggested the tendency of all systems to become increasingly disorganized as they approach a state of "entropic death."1 nixon claims that Hopkins attempts to alleviate this "apocalyptic angst" "by asserting that the energy . . . sustaining the universe is indestructible because its origin is divine" (pp. 149, 146).2 Analogously, though focusing on animal behavior rather than thermodynamic tendencies, Michael Lackey finds in Hopkins a response to a speculative atheistic position that used nature's amorality to undermine the notion of divine presence as guide to the events of the natural world. For Lackey, Hopkins affirms the possibility of redemption by claiming that the apparent lack of divinity in world events (and here, one could include political events with natural ones) is necessary in order for "charged moments" of divine manifestation to emerge.3 Evidence of barrenness or amorality that his contemporaries use to argue against the presence of God becomes a sign in a dialectic

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Apr 14, 2011

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