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Perspectives victoriennes

Hopkins and Victorian Responses to Suffering

Hopkins et les réponses de l’époque victorienne à la souffrance
Maureen Moran
p. 570-581

Résumé

L’interprétation religieuse de la souffrance à l’époque victorienne insiste d’une manière qui lui est propre sur la prééminence de l’âme sur le corps, l’acte de bravoure qu’est le sacrifice de soi, et la souffrance comme moyen purgatif de repentance et de discipline. Les textes catholiques sur le corps souffrant, et notamment dans les sermons et les récits de martyre, mettent en avant tout particulièrement la valeur de l’immolation du moi physique faible et perfide comme première étape à la récompense céleste. Cet article explore la centralité de la souffrance dans la notion du moi telle que Hopkins la conçoit en examinant son adaptation des représentations victoriennes traditionnelles de ce thème. En combinant à la fois des inflexions protestantes et catholiques dans son discours sur la souffrance, Hopkins réécrit l’importance de la souffrance extrême pour parfaire et exprimer l’individu unique et uni.

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1Geoffrey Grigson once described Hopkins as a poet fascinated by acute, violent suffering:

  • 1  Cited in W. H. Gardner, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 -1889): A Study of Poetic Idiosyncrasy in Rela (...)

He was interested in the gash, the bloody flow, the bloody hour of the martyrs. Self-humiliation and pain in others did not obsess him, but they were always important to him.1

  • 2 Ibid., 321; for sexual repression in Hopkins, see Richard Dellamora, Masculine Desire: The Sexual P (...)
  • 3  There are other kinds of suffering which lie outside the scope of this essay but which Hopkins exp (...)

2Critics have variously attributed the descriptions of physical agony in Hopkins’s letters, journals and poetry to his “professional interest in pain”(as a priest focused on the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ) or to a guilty repression or displacement of erotic – most probably, homoerotic – desire.2 However, Hopkins’s appropriation and transformation of Victorian discourses of the body in pain are as much an expression of his age as of a secret longing. Curiously combining both Catholic and Protestant inflections of suffering current in Victorian culture, Hopkins’s poetry revises contemporary religious perspectives on the purpose and meaning of physical torment.3  

  • 4  See, for example, Lucy Bending, The Representation of Bodily Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Engli (...)
  • 5  Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain:  The Making and Unmaking of the World, New York and Oxford:  Oxfo (...)

3Religious and secular perspectives on suffering are in contention in the Victorian period, from the Evangelical acceptance of pain as part of the divine plan, as punishment and spiritual purgation, to the scientific view of pain as a biological process, controllable by sedatives and anaesthetics and thus with no particular supernatural import.4 These discourses of suffering also convey particular ideological positions.  Theorists of pain, like Elaine Scarry, argue that, at disruptive moments of social crisis, cultural prohibitions of the body politic can be reinforced by reference to the behaviour and fate of physical bodies.5 Thus, in the Victorian period, conventional social and cultural expectations — concerning gender, class and even denominational difference — are encoded in representations of the body in pain. Such images emphasize orthodox values at a time of cultural transition. Moreover, in an age which characterized itself as socially progressive, politically triumphant abroad, and supreme in material production and technological advances, the Victorian “cult” of suffering offers consolation and reassurance for those who are excluded from roles of power and from positive achievement and success.  The depiction of patient, acquiescent suffering as a mode of heroism is an important force shaping individuals’ acceptance of their social destiny.

  • 6  Roy Porter, “History of the Body,” in Peter Burke (ed.), New Perspectives on Historical Writing, C (...)

4Writing about suffering at this time focuses on three key cultural debates: the superiority of spiritual reward to rather than material success; the relation between heroism and self-abnegation; and the differential valuation of opposing belief systems, such as Christian and pagan, Protestant and Catholic. Hopkins’s representations of and allusions to suffering offer valuable evidence of his alignment with typical Victorian attitudes on these issues; but of particular interest is the way his images of suffering offer a resistant counterpoint to the “official meanings”6 normally inscribed in the treatment of the body in pain.

  • 7  Harriet Martineau, Life in the Sickroom: Essays by an Invalid, London:  Edward Moxon, 1844, 107, 1 (...)

5In numerous Victorian handbooks on coping with pain, submission to agony is actually the price exacted for spiritual reward. By implication such a premise downgrades physical reality. Harriet Martineau, for example, argues that intense pain verifies the unseen, reinforcing “the presumption of the inextinguishable vitality of the spirit” and “the steadfast, incommunicable assurance of the soul.”7 Suffering is also linked with heroism through martyrdom tropes as a way of encouraging the humble submission to prosaic day-to-day setbacks.  In his sermons on old age, for example, John Mason Neale urges the elderly to endure their aches and pains quietly in this life in the hope of an elevated status in the next.  Martyrdom imagery legitimizes the argument:

  • 8  John Mason Neale, Readings for the Aged, 1878, quoted in Leon B. Litvack, “Callista, Martyrdom, an (...)

They who were torn to pieces by evil beasts, dragged asunder by wild horses, burnt in the furnace, cut to pieces by knives, hung by one joint for days in agony, — all these have known pain in a degree in which we probably may not be called to know it [...] [but] ‘If we suffer we shall also reign with Him.’ 8

  • 9  “For a Picture of Saint Dorothea,” The Oxford Authors: Gerard Manley Hopkins, Catherine Phillips ( (...)
  • 10 Idem.

6As one might expect, given the Christian theology of suffering centred on Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, Hopkins also uses images of pain to reinforce the superiority of heaven to the material domain.  In “For a Picture of St Dorothea” and the reworked “Lines for a Picture of St Dorothea,” Dorothea’s willing acceptance of torture and death because of her Christian faith is rewarded by a glorious after-life figured as an eternal spring, rich with luxurious “[s]weet flowers” and exotic fruit from a world “[w]here Winter is the clime forgot – .“9In contrast, earthly existence is blighted and bitter, a barren natural order where “buds not spring;/Spring not, ‘cause world is wintering.”10  Like Martineau and Neale, Hopkins presents Dorothea’s suffering as a sign of the superiority of heaven and the rewards attendant upon faithful endurance.  

  • 11  A number of critics such as Lesley Higgins argue that Hopkins’s essential conservatism can be seen (...)
  • 12  “Lines for a Picture of St Dorothea,” GMH, 85.
  • 13 Ibid., 84.
  • 14 Ibid., 85.

7But Hopkins’s portrayal of the glories accompanying the martyr’s blood-dipped palm does not simply follow the standard Victorian argument that suffering helps to subordinate worldly preoccupations to spiritual concerns.11  Instead, he offers a more complex psychological and aesthetic account of the martyr’s satisfactions. The poet shuns the typical economic view of martyrdom as physical loss for the gain of spiritual status, and instead promotes suffering as a process of natural perfection of the whole individual. Eternity for Hopkins involves a sensuous interpenetration of the earthly and the transcendent. Dorothea may no longer be visible, in “the partless air/... [of] the world of light.”12 But her new world is this world, magnificently and beautifully fulfilled, where the very stars are as dewdrops, the “sizing moon” a quince.13 Her martyr’s inheritance is not expressed in images of power, a high seat in the spiritual “establishment” of the saints. For Hopkins the innocent constancy of the sufferer blossoms into an ever-sensitive heart and movingly points beyond to God’s beautiful perfection of creation. Even the doubting Theophilus experiences this exquisite sympathy in the miracle of Dorothea’s heavenly flowers and fruit: “Tears may swarm/Indeed while such a wonder’s warm.”14

  • 15  H. Martineau, op. cit., 132.
  • 16  James Hinton, The Mystery of Pain: A Book for the Sorrowful, London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1866, 6.
  • 17 Ibid., 55.

8The Victorian preoccupation with suffering well has social as well as religious implications.  The heroic endurance of pain is often depicted as acquiescent obedience to a Superior Being. As Martineau suggests, pain brings the sufferer joy because it is “tangible proof that he is under chastening and discipline, [which] conveys to him a sense of his dignity – reassures him, as a child of Providence.” 15This interpretation of suffering reinforces the Victorian ideal of dutiful submission to the strictures of a (masculinized) authority in home and state. Personal fulfilment of the individual is subordinated and sacrificed, but this loss is presented in terms of moral satisfaction and perfection for family member and citizen. Similarly, in The Mystery of Pain: A Book for the Sorrowful, James Hinton extols the benefit of suffering with forbearance.  Pain is part of God’s plan to turn “the long tale of human strife” into “His best and dearest work.16  Indeed, the stoic acceptance of suffering is itself an act of devotion: “such rapture should possess us, that all loss, all griefs, should be to us the trivial sacrifices which love delights to have the opportunity to make.”17 Throughout the 19thcentury, this discourse of suffering bleeds into the secular discussion of pain, conflating boundaries between religious and worldly values. It emphasizes the worth of conservative social behaviours, such as willing self-sacrifice and manly endeavour for a cause.

  • 18  Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Sermons and Devotional Writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins, London:  Oxfo (...)
  • 19 Ibidem.

9Hopkins exploits the same language of stoic endurance and self-sacrifice in the face of pain and suffering, but his emphasis has more radical implications. For him, the heroism lies in its willed effort or stress.  The martyr, for Hopkins, is no passive victim, silently embracing what is physically imposed. His sufferers make active choices, so that the experience of pain becomes both work and artistry, the proclamation of a unique identity and vision.  The tortured body reveals a precious inscape of the soul’s beauty. Sacrifice is, for Hopkins, an act of creativity, of individuation.  In the notes from his Long Retreat in November 1881, he relates sacrifice to the mystery of the Trinity and Creation:  “It is as if the blissful agony or stress of selving in God had forced out drops of sweat or blood, which drops were the world... .”18  The “great sacrifice” of Christ’s Passion and Redemption is also, for Hopkins, linked to the “making” and expression of the individual, of raising the creature to “the meriting of God himself, or, so to say, godworthiness.”19 Redemptive sacrifice through the acceptance of pain lies, for Hopkins, less in an act of purgation or dutiful submission to God’s demanding will, than in its fulfilment of the creative urge within each human being.  Suffering well becomes the tool and sign of perfection of the self; through it the individual acts in harmony with God and such “blissful agony” creates a distinctive personal identity just as God created the world. In “The Soldier,” to strain to do the utmost, giving one’s life willingly for others, is to reach the epitome of “godworthiness” and selfhood. And Hopkins boldly suggests how such selfhood stands as both model for and mirror of Christ:

  • 20  “The Soldier,” GMH, 168.

Now, and seeing somewhere some man do all that man can do,
For love he [Christ] leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,
And cry, ‘O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:
Were I to come o’er again’ cries Christ ‘ it should be this.’20

  • 21  Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Watson Dixon, Claud (...)

10For Hopkins, then, the heroism of suffering lies not in the emptying of self but in becoming more truly self. While he follows mainstream Victorian discourse in associating the endurance of pain with heroism, he radically rewrites the definition of a hero and the function of suffering with a new privileging of the individual, body and soul.  Suffering becomes the exceptional counterbalancing force that perfects the individual in his or her own right.  Hopkins celebrates this heroic process of self-development and self-realisation in the case of Robert Southwell, the Elizabethan Jesuit poet, whose martyrdom is an integral and balancing component of his life’s work: “he wrote amidst terrible persecution and died a martyr, with circumstances of horrible barbarity:  this is the counterpoise in his career.”21

  • 22  John Henry Newman, “Bodily Suffering,” Parochial Sermons, 2nd ed., III, London: J. G. and F. Rivin (...)
  • 23  J. H. Newman, “Bodily Suffering,” 157.
  • 24  Frederick William Faber, The Precious Blood: or, the Price of Our Salvation, London: Thomas Richar (...)
  • 25  Henry Edward Manning, The Glories of the Sacred Heart, London: Burns and Oates, 1876, 202; Devotio (...)

11While, in these terms, suffering becomes for Hopkins a “career” or life’s work, for other 19th-century theologians of bodily suffering, it is an opportunity to eradicate concern with the self and unmake the dangerously desiring body. John Henry Newman, for example, preaches the “peace” and “spiritual freedom” that “flow from a fount of blood” so that “a punishment [is turned] into a privilege.”22  For such as Newman bodily suffering brings not godworthiness but a reminder of unworthiness because “our own sin is the cause of it.”23 Catholic religious writers in particular emphasize the importance of suffering for teaching distaste for the body and life’s luxuries.  Frederick Faber argues that pain has no meaning “except the purification of our soul.”24 Henry Manning takes up a similar position in his sermons when he urges suffering to be embraced since it “drive[s] the iron through that affection or passion which deforms your soul” and is “a witness and a warning” to shun “the world’s religion.”25

  • 26  Jean Baptiste Feuillet, et al., trans. The Lives of St Rose of Lima, the Blessed Colomba of Rieti (...)
  • 27 Ibid., vii, 43, 44.
  • 28  Alfred Thomas, Hopkins the Jesuit: The Years of Training, London: Oxford University Press, 1969, 2 (...)

12Even the descriptions of physical suffering in Catholic lives of saints and martyrs published in the period emphasize the body’s vulnerability and insignificance.  A controversial life of St Rose of Lima, for example, details an extraordinary range of masochistic punishments which Rose inflicted on her body – from wearing hairshirts sewn with needle points, to sprinkling her food with sheep’s gall and beating herself nightly with iron chains until blood “made a stream in the middle of the room.” 26Although Faber, the series editor, acknowledges that English readers “may be a little startled” by such mortifications of the flesh, he encourages respect for Rose’s “ardour for suffering” that stems from the “implacable hatred which she felt towards her body.”27 Other Catholic devotional works, including Canon Shortland’s gruesome account of the sadistic tortures inflicted on the Corean martyrs which was heard by Hopkins in refectory readings during his Jesuit training, similarly connect suffering, disdain for the body, and the achievement of salvation.  Shortland emphasizes the martyrs’ “delight” in sacrificing their weak bodies for admission to heaven.28

13While Hopkins’s allusions to the horrific martyrdom of St. Lawrence on the gridiron in his early poem, “The Escorial,” also highlight bodily destruction, he draws special attention to the nobility of the act rather than its function as a purgation and sacrifice:

  • 29  “The Escorial,” GMH, 1.

For that staunch saint still prais’d his Master’s name
While his crack’d flesh lay hissing on the grate;
Then fail’d the tongue; the poor collapsing frame,
Hung like a wreck that flames not billows beat — .29

  • 30 Ibidem.

Although the physical dissolution is charted, the resonating image is that of the stately ship battered by storm.  This respect for the body is further reinforced by other elements of the poem. The cloistered inhabitants of the Escorial convent are, for Hopkins, mistaken in their ascetic interpretation of God’s design.  They become “those who strove God’s gospel to confound/With barren rigour and a frigid gloom —.”30  Sympathy, not contempt, for the suffering body enables him to draw bolder conclusions, about the pity and tragedy of bodily humiliation and pain, and the nobility of the individual beset by cruelty and contempt.

14The entwined discourses of martyrdom and suffering in Victorian writing present Christianity as underpinning English moral, spiritual and behavioural ideals in an increasingly secular age. This religious framework for interpreting the significance of bodily pain challenges the agnostic, worldly priorities of encroaching modernity by foregrounding the irrelevance of the material domain, the heroism of self-denial, and the need to obliterate self in God’s reality. But these representations also figure significantly in the differentiation of Christian denominations themselves, most notably Protestant (as English and orthodox) and Catholic (as alien and feared Other). The cultural anxieties occasioned by the restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in England in 1850 are visible, for instance, in Protestant stories and historical articles that dwell on the overbearing cruelty of the Catholic Church, evident in such horrors as the Inquisition. These narratives of suffering reinforce the dangers of giving a foothold to the “Romish” faith, with its rigid institutionalism, sado-masochistic fetishes, and contempt for individual conscience. Suspicion of a persecuting Rome was balanced by praise of Protestantism as the guarantor of true Englishness with its manly forthrightness and love of individual liberties. In this context, the Catholic discourse of suffering with its extravagant emphasis on self-sacrifice, obedience to authority, and the subjugation of the weak, despicable flesh, seemed distinctly foreign and unnatural.  

  • 31  J. Derek Holmes, More Roman than Rome:  English Catholicism in the Nineteenth Century, London:  Bu (...)
  • 32  John Morris (ed.), The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers Related by Themselves, London:  Burns (...)
  • 33  William Nicholson (ed.), Life and Death of Margaret Clitherow, The Martyr of York, Now First Publi (...)

15The political implications of denominationally-inflected accounts of suffering are most obvious in that favourite Victorian subject — the English religious persecutions of the 16th century. For 19th-century Catholics the Elizabethan martyrs signified the turning point when Catholics became alienated “from the life of the nation,”31 a separation painfully reinforced by contemporary anti-Catholic protests over the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829), the restoration of the Hierarchy, and the pronouncement of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility in 1870.  Indeed, Victorian Catholics themselves often constructed the Catholic past in terms that fuelled fears about their divided allegiances to Church and Crown. The Jesuit historian, John Morris, suggests that the Catholic martyrs persecuted by the Protestant Queen, though loyal to the throne in civil terms, were set apart from the filthy minds and brutality of the lax general citizenry.  He sees this isolation as a strength related to the Catholic rejection of the world and the flesh.32 William Nicholson’s 1849 preface to the life of Margaret Clitheroe argues that the Church’s duty lies in the aggressive annihilation of heresy, including the persecution of Protestants with their false belief in the “liberty of conscience.”33

  • 34  John Foxe, The Acts and Monuments, 4th ed: rev. Josiah Pratt, intro. John Stoughton, London:  The (...)
  • 35 Ibid., 28, 46.

16On the other hand, Victorian Protestants writing about the Catholic Mary Tudor’s persecution of adherents to the Reformed faith endow these martyrs with a significant “rebel” status by emphasizing defiant drama and public display rather than self-effacing sacrifice. Their commentaries on Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, for example, focus on the battle against a corrupt institutional authority. The Protestant sufferer denounces the unequal balance of power between individual and state that exists under Catholic rulers. He or she is joyfully triumphant, not because the weak body is supplanted by heavenly triumph, but because the cruel tyranny of the Roman Church has been resisted.  In his introduction to a new Victorian edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, John Stoughton links Catholicism with the licentious abuse of power.34  Protestant martyrs are presented as victims of the systematic attempt to control personal belief. Using an aggressive, masculinized diction, Stoughton celebrates the “army” of 16th-century Protestant martyrs who served as living sermons of the Truth of individual conscience, instructing those befuddled by a foreign “Romish despotism.”35 Such narratives of suffering connect Protestantism to British identity, explicitly excluding Catholics from this national inheritance.

  • 36  “Margaret Clitheroe,” GMH, 126.
  • 37 Ibid., 127, 126.
  • 38 Ibid., 127.

17Unusually, Hopkins’s poetry interweaves both Catholic and Protestant constructions of the martyr, drawing marginalized Catholic ideals rhetorically into the religious mainstream but also achieving other radical effects. Hopkins’s adaptation of certain Protestant images of the suffering martyr is clearly apparent in the unfinished “Margaret Clitheroe” and the Tall Nun sequence in “The Wreck of theDeutschland.”  His treatment of these women as exemplars of suffering “well” is transgressive in both denominational and cultural terms. Margaret Clitheroe is highly individuated, a bold, distinctive blend of male and female traits, sliding constantly across gender boundaries. She is no meek child-woman but a mature adult with an independent sense of responsibility. While she has womanly work — sewing her shroud — and is expecting a child, her bearing is robustly masculine for she does not shrink from the public arena and the opportunity of witnessing. Like representations of Protestant martyrs, she has a straightforward simplicity and a “Christ-ed beauty of mind.”36 Her courage and intelligence enable her to be “upright, outright” before the judges, defying corrupt authority by giving public commitment to her faith:  “She not considered whether or no/She pleased the Queen and Council.”37  Through her robust stance and brave endurance of her final stress she is selved, coming into her perfected individual identity as ”God’s daughter,” just as Jesus is “God’s son.”38

  • 39  “The Wreck of theDeutschland,”GMH, 114.
  • 40 Ibidem.

18Similarly, the Tall Nun of “The Wreck of theDeutschland”is closer to Protestant than to Catholic martyr paradigms and thus draws the Catholic faith towards the centre of national life.  She is contrasted with the weak, “the woman’s wailing” and ”the crying of child without check —.”39  She is a literal tower of strength, a “lioness [...] breasting the babble,” leading others and giving them courage.40 Her performance of martyrdom, like that of Foxe’s Reformation martyrs, is dramatic, her presence apparent through her voice publicly proclaiming truth to men at her hour of death.  Thus she is “[a] prophetess tower[ing] in the tumult, a virginal tongue” who

  • 41 Idem.

rears herself to divine
Ears, and the call of the tall nun
To the men in the tops and the tackle rode over the storm’s
brawling.41

  • 42 Ibid., 117.
  • 43 Ibidem.
  • 44 Ibid., 118, 119.

19The Tall Nun is equally unconventional in her fears and insights.  She calls on Christ, not to shed this life, to abandon “the combating keen” for heavenly comfort. In a non-Catholic triumphalist tone, Hopkins shows the Tall Nun bringing Christ’s presence to the world so that he might “[d]o, deal, lord it with living and dead;/[...] despatch and have done with his doom there.”42  In other words, her individual fulfilment is both womanly (in giving birth to Christ’s mystical presence) and masculine (with its emphasis on public action for the community’s enlightenment and strengthening). Her work depends on positive creative action, the selving of God through her suffering: “here was heart-throe, birth of a brain,/Word that heard and kept thee and uttered thee outright.”43 Moreover, Hopkins goes one further step, not isolating Catholics protectively, but in an outrageous capturing of Protestant martyrdom discourse, committing the nation to Christ: “Our King back, Oh, upon English souls!/.../More brightening her, rare-dear Britain, as his reign rolls.”44  The Catholic cause is no longer at odds with patriotic duty or national identity but at its very core.

  • 45  Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, Claude Colleer Abbo (...)
  • 46  “Pied Beauty,” GMH, 133.
  • 47  “Margaret Clitheroe,” GMH, 127.

20In a letter to Robert Bridges, Hopkins recorded his interest in the description of a flogging at sea. It is “terrible and instructive and it happened — ah, that is the charm and the main point.”45 That word “charm” is unsettling for it might easily be read as establishing Hopkins’s decadence as a dilettante of bodily torture. But a consideration of Hopkins’s work in the context of Victorian attitudes to suffering suggests a very different perspective. What charms and touches Hopkins, what moves and quickens him, is the reality of whatever is “counter, original, spare, strange,”46 whatever encourages selving and enables the perceiver to connect with the distinctive essence or inscape of the individual.  In his exploration of pain and suffering, Hopkins himself brings forth the counter, original and strange. Unlike the work of his contemporaries, his depictions of those in torment do not reinforce conventional religious and secular behaviours, such as the value of submissive self-sacrifice and the mortification of the flesh. Instead, in Hopkins’s imagination, suffering becomes a radical act which challenges established attitudes. The unseemly obliteration of the physical self is no longer an act of denial and purgation but the ultimate moment of self-assertion and self-definition.  Hopkins’s treatment of the body in pain offers alternative perspectives:  the interpenetration of material and spiritual orders; the heroic process of selving and the place of suffering within that process; the capacity of the individual to act outside cultural formations like gender; and the legitimate place of Catholics within English life. In Hopkins’s hands the radical and the orthodox rewrite each other through the artistic exploration of suffering. Here lies the “charm” of the “choke of woe.”47

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Notes

1  Cited in W. H. Gardner, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 -1889): A Study of Poetic Idiosyncrasy in Relation to Poetic Tradition, II, London: Oxford University Press, 1949, 320.

2 Ibid., 321; for sexual repression in Hopkins, see Richard Dellamora, Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990, and Julia F. Saville, A Queer Chivalry: The Homoerotic Asceticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Charlottesville & London: University Press of Virginia, 2000. Tom Zaniello tracks the influence of Hopkins’s religious circle at Stonyhurst as another source connecting Catholicism and the poet’s fascination with extreme religious practice (“Of Miracles, Martyrs and Prayer Gauges,” in Michael E. Allsopp & Michael W. Sundermeier(eds.), Gerard Manley Hopkins [1844-1889]: New Essays on His Life, Writing, and Place in English Literature, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989, 234).

3  There are other kinds of suffering which lie outside the scope of this essay but which Hopkins explores, most notably intellectual pain; see Michael D. Moore, “Newman and the Motif of Intellectual Pain in Hopkins’s ‘Terrible Sonnets,’” Mosaic, 12, No. 4 (Summer 1979), 29-46.

4  See, for example, Lucy Bending, The Representation of Bodily Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century English Culture, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000, 2-6, 28.

5  Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain:  The Making and Unmaking of the World, New York and Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1987, 14.

6  Roy Porter, “History of the Body,” in Peter Burke (ed.), New Perspectives on Historical Writing, Cambridge:  Polity Press, 1991, 207.

7  Harriet Martineau, Life in the Sickroom: Essays by an Invalid, London:  Edward Moxon, 1844, 107, 125.

8  John Mason Neale, Readings for the Aged, 1878, quoted in Leon B. Litvack, “Callista, Martyrdom, and the Early Christian Novel in the Victorian Age,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 17, No. 2 (1993), 171.

9  “For a Picture of Saint Dorothea,” The Oxford Authors: Gerard Manley Hopkins, Catherine Phillips (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986, 48. Henceforth this work will be cited as GMH with the appropriate poem title and page number(s).

10 Idem.

11  A number of critics such as Lesley Higgins argue that Hopkins’s essential conservatism can be seen in his rejection of the body as a traitor to the mind, since body “undermines a subjectivity that seeks its most profound relation with God”. (“’Bone-house’ and ‘Lovescape’:  Writing the Body in Hopkins’s Canon,” in Francis L. Fennell (ed.), Rereading Hopkins:  Selected New Essays, Victoria: University of Victoria, 1996, 19). This view, however, takes insufficient account of Hopkins’s own interest in the flesh and its positive relation to the soul, realized in its most perfect form in the Incarnation. Even Higgins notes that Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body of Christ (in its Eucharistic manifestation), was the most important holy day for Hopkins (20).

12  “Lines for a Picture of St Dorothea,” GMH, 85.

13 Ibid., 84.

14 Ibid., 85.

15  H. Martineau, op. cit., 132.

16  James Hinton, The Mystery of Pain: A Book for the Sorrowful, London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1866, 6.

17 Ibid., 55.

18  Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Sermons and Devotional Writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins, London:  Oxford University Press, 1959, 197 (my emphasis).

19 Ibidem.

20  “The Soldier,” GMH, 168.

21  Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Watson Dixon, Claude Colleer Abbott (ed.), [1935], London: Oxford University Press, 1970, 94.

22  John Henry Newman, “Bodily Suffering,” Parochial Sermons, 2nd ed., III, London: J. G. and F. Rivington, Oxford: J. H. Parker, 1837, 154, 157. Newman adopted a similar position on the subordination of the body in his writing as a Catholic. See, for example, his comment that “Man has a moral and a religious nature, as well as a physical. He has a mind and a soul; and the mind and soul have a legitimate sovereignty over the body….”, The Idea of a University, Martin J. Svaglic (ed.) [1873], New York and London:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960, 383.

23  J. H. Newman, “Bodily Suffering,” 157.

24  Frederick William Faber, The Precious Blood: or, the Price of Our Salvation, London: Thomas Richardson, 1860, 44.

25  Henry Edward Manning, The Glories of the Sacred Heart, London: Burns and Oates, 1876, 202; Devotional Readings being Select Passages from the Sermons of H_E_M_, London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1868, 172.   

26  Jean Baptiste Feuillet, et al., trans. The Lives of St Rose of Lima, the Blessed Colomba of Rieti and of St. Juliana Falconieri, in The Saints and Servants of God series, ed. F. W. Faber, London: Thomas Richardson, 1847, 32.

27 Ibid., vii, 43, 44.

28  Alfred Thomas, Hopkins the Jesuit: The Years of Training, London: Oxford University Press, 1969, 222; Canon [R?] Shortland, The Corean Martyrs: A Narrative, London: Burns, Oates & Co., [n.d.], 13.

29  “The Escorial,” GMH, 1.

30 Ibidem.

31  J. Derek Holmes, More Roman than Rome:  English Catholicism in the Nineteenth Century, London:  Burns & Oates, 1978, 13.

32  John Morris (ed.), The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers Related by Themselves, London:  Burns & Oates, 1877, 43.

33  William Nicholson (ed.), Life and Death of Margaret Clitherow, The Martyr of York, Now First Published from the Original Manuscript, London and Dublin:  Richardson, 1849, 25-6, 98.

34  John Foxe, The Acts and Monuments, 4th ed: rev. Josiah Pratt, intro. John Stoughton, London:  The Religious Tract Society, 1877, 9.

35 Ibid., 28, 46.

36  “Margaret Clitheroe,” GMH, 126.

37 Ibid., 127, 126.

38 Ibid., 127.

39  “The Wreck of theDeutschland,”GMH, 114.

40 Ibidem.

41 Idem.

42 Ibid., 117.

43 Ibidem.

44 Ibid., 118, 119.

45  Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, Claude Colleer Abbott (ed.) [1935], London:  Oxford University Press, 1970, 279.

46  “Pied Beauty,” GMH, 133.

47  “Margaret Clitheroe,” GMH, 127.

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Maureen Moran, « Hopkins and Victorian Responses to Suffering », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. VII – n°3 | 2009, 570-581.

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Maureen Moran, « Hopkins and Victorian Responses to Suffering », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. VII – n°3 | 2009, mis en ligne le 25 mai 2009, consulté le 30 septembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/145 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/lisa.145

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Auteur

Maureen Moran

Professor, (London, United Kingdom)
Maureen Moran is Professor of English Literature at Brunel University, London, England where she teaches 19th-century literature and culture. She has published on Gerard Manley Hopkins, Walter Pater, Victorian women writers, and other novelists of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the popular fantasy writer, Tanith Lee, and has been an invited speaker at a number of international conferences in the USA, the UK and elsewhere in Europe. In 2001, she was the recipient of the Russel B. Nye Award from the Association of Popular Culture for her article on Victorian attitudes to witchcraft. Her most recent publications include Victorian Literature and Culture (Continuum Press, 2006), Catholic Sensationalism and Victorian Literature (Liverpool University Press, 2007), “Walter Pater’s House Beautiful and the Psychology of Self–Culture,” ELT (2007), and “The heart’s censer: Liturgy, Poetry and the Catholic Devotional Revolution,” inA. Grafe (ed.), Ecstasy and Understanding: Religious Awareness in English Poetry from the Late Victorian to the Modern Period (Continuum Press, 2008).

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