chapter
Introduction
Pages 7

Gerard Manley Hopkins was born in 1844, seven years after the coronation of Queen Victoria. When he died, in 1889, the British queen still had eleven years left to reign. Hopkins’s letters and journals contain numerous references to Victorian cultural and political events. He studied at Oxford under Jowett and Pater. He was an acquaintance of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, an admirer of Ruskin, and an astute critic of Tennyson and Browning. He visited the Royal Academy and the Crystal Palace. He grieved over the death of General Gordon at Khartoum and raged against Gladstone for “weakening the bonds of a worldwide empire.”1 As a Catholic convert, he joined the only major Christian denomination to expand in population and influence during Victoria’s reign.