Cover Image: A Heart Lost in Wonder

A Heart Lost in Wonder

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A Heart Lost in Wonder by Catherine Randall details the life and times of Gerard Manley Hopkins, an English Poet and Jesuit Priest. This text is certainly a great addition to the Library of Religious Biography; cynical with Catholicism, he converted to the Society of Jesus, and developed a unique personal philosophy on beauty and nature which is evident in his work. 

The book is well-written and extremely informative. I would need to reread this again to comprehend his life's experiences and the contextual beliefs that impacted his school of thought, but it is nevertheless a pleasant and intriguing read. 

I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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A Heart Lost in Wonder by Catharine Randall is part of the far ranging Library of Religious Biography. Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry is unique and memorable, full of vivid images, but I knew little about his career as a priest or his life and how it affected his poetry. 

Hopkins viewed everything through his faith, finding the divine in every tree and mountain. 

Hopkins developed a personal and unique philosophy to explain the power of beauty in this world through the lens of faith. The draw of beauty was so powerful, he believed it might eclipse the divine. He would go weeks with his eyes fixated on the ground in self-denial. 

Drawn by the traditions of the Catholic church he converted and he believed he was called to the priesthood. 

It seems like the absolute wrong choice that Hopkins would become a Jesuit--in effect, an itinerant teacher. I can personally attest that no one can who has not lived it can fully comprehend the sacrifices of itinerary, to be removed from a place that feeds one and set in a place that kills one's soul. 

A perfectionist, he the work of grading papers and teaching wore Hopkins out and allowed no personal time for his poetry or an internal life. 

He responded to the beauty of Wales and the rural assignments but the cities with their poverty and ugliness were soul-destroying. He denied himself poetry but rhapsodized in his journals.

Randall's book delves into the theologies that inspired Hopkins and shows how to interpret his poetry through the lens of his faith.  I am not Catholic and I am not deeply familiar with Newman or Loyola but she presents them very well. 

It is very interesting, but difficult to comprehend Hopkin's unique view of poetry. Cooper discusses the poems as vehicles for Hopkins's theology. 

Hopkins suffered a faith crisis in his later life and died an early death.

I enjoyed the book but do not feel I could comprehend it in one reading. It is dense and deserves a deeper study.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.
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