Phonographic Hopkins: Sound, Cylinders, Silence, and “Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves”

Phonographic Hopkins: Sound, Cylinders, Silence, and “Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves” Phonographic Hopkins: Sound, Cylinders, Silence, and “Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves” JUSTIN TACKETT n response to the first edition of Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins , a reviewer I for the Times Literary Supplement observed in January 1919 that Hopkins had an afn fi ity for linking words “merely because they are alike in sound. This, at its worst, produces the effect almost of idiocy, of speech without sense and pro- longed merely by echoes. It seems to be a bad habit, like stuttering.” Yet, the es- sayist concludes, “[i]t is as if he heard everywhere a m usic too difc fi ult, because too beautiful, for our ears and noted down what he could catch of it; au then tic fragments that we trust even when they bewilder us.” This feeling of being bewildered by Hopkins’s sounds and si mul ta neously appreciating their authen- ticity remained a hallmark of readers’ responses. A respondent in I. A. Rich- ards’s Practical Criticism (1929) echoed the TLS’s reaction to Hopkins’s poetry: “Has a deci ded fascination for me, but it is an irritating rather than a satisfactory fascination. . . . I fi nd myself attending exclusively to the sound and general feel http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Phonographic Hopkins: Sound, Cylinders, Silence, and “Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves”

Victorian Poetry, Volume 56 (2) – Oct 5, 2018

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University.
ISSN
1530-7190

Abstract

Phonographic Hopkins: Sound, Cylinders, Silence, and “Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves” JUSTIN TACKETT n response to the first edition of Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins , a reviewer I for the Times Literary Supplement observed in January 1919 that Hopkins had an afn fi ity for linking words “merely because they are alike in sound. This, at its worst, produces the effect almost of idiocy, of speech without sense and pro- longed merely by echoes. It seems to be a bad habit, like stuttering.” Yet, the es- sayist concludes, “[i]t is as if he heard everywhere a m usic too difc fi ult, because too beautiful, for our ears and noted down what he could catch of it; au then tic fragments that we trust even when they bewilder us.” This feeling of being bewildered by Hopkins’s sounds and si mul ta neously appreciating their authen- ticity remained a hallmark of readers’ responses. A respondent in I. A. Rich- ards’s Practical Criticism (1929) echoed the TLS’s reaction to Hopkins’s poetry: “Has a deci ded fascination for me, but it is an irritating rather than a satisfactory fascination. . . . I fi nd myself attending exclusively to the sound and general feel

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Oct 5, 2018

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