Hopkins on "Inscape" and "Instress" Glenn Everett, Ph. D.

In his journals, Gerard Manley Hopkins used two terms, "inscape" and "instress," which can cause some con usion. !y "inscape" he means the uni ied comple" o characteristics that #ive each thin# its uni$ueness and that di erentiate it rom other thin#s, and %y "instress" he means either the orce o %ein# which holds the inscape to#ether or the impulse rom the inscape which carries it whole into the mind o the %eholder& 'here is one nota%le dead tree . . . the inscape markedly holdin# its most simple and %eauti ul oneness up rom the #round throu#h a #race ul swerve %elow (I think) the sprin# o the %ranches up to the tops o the tim%er. I saw the inscape reshly, as i my mind were still #rowin#, thou#h with a companion the eye and the ear are or the most part shut and instress cannot come. 'he concept o inscape shares much with *ordsworth+s "spots o time," Emerson+s "moments," and ,oyce+s "epiphanies," showin# it to %e a characteristically -omantic and post.-omantic idea. !ut Hopkins+ inscape is also undamentally reli#ious& a #limpse o the inscape o a thin# shows us why God created it. "Each mortal thin# does one thin# and the same&/ . . mysel it speaks and spells,/ 0ryin# *h1t I d2 is me& or that I came. " Hopkins occupies an important place in the poetic line that reaches rom the major -omantic poets, especially *ordsworth and 3eats, throu#h 'ennyson and the Pre.-aphaelites to Hopkins, Pater, 4eats and the sym%olists, and inally to E5ra Pound and the Ima#ists. His insistence that inscape was the essence o poetry ("Poetry is in act speech employed to carry the inscape o speech or the inscape+s sake") and that conse$uently, what he called "Parnassian" poetry (i.e., competent verse written without inspiration) was to %e avoided has much in common with the aestheticism o *alter Pater (one o his tutors at 6" ord) and the 7rt or 7rt+s 8ake movement, and sounds very much like the theoretical pronouncements o the Ima#ists o the early twentieth century. Inscape and instress 'hese two terms were coined %y the 9ictorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins as he developed his theories o what constituted poetry. +Inscape+ means the particular eatures o a certain landscape or other natural structure, which make it di erent rom any other. 'he theolo#ical %elie %ehind this was that God never repeats himsel . Hopkins, as a poet.artist, had to determine just what was especial a%out any scene. His note%ooks show the tremendous care with which he details what he thinks is uni$ue a%out a particular sunset, cloud ormation or even waves.

the e"pression o . thou#h with a companion the eye and the ear are or the most part shut and instress cannot come. as opposed to the scienti ic approach o the ei#hteenth century. Hopkins writes in his journal& :'here is one nota%le dead tree . *ith today+s technolo#y. as i my mind were still #rowin#. so that he could perceive this. and the instress was. and it was active. as they too have their own inscape. Introduction Duns 8cotus'he terms convey the uni$ueness o each created thin# or person. inanimate. either in art or throu#h words. have our in#erprints taken and our D=7 pro iled to esta%lish our uni$ueness. that does not e"clude people. memory and ima#ination. *ordsworth e"perienced a similar inscape re$uently in his time o livin# in the <ake District or in his travels. 8o there now is less clash %etween the impersonality o science and the intense individuality o -omanticism. Hopkins elt it was the artist+s jo% to perceive and e"press such uni$ueness. 'his process involved the will. a veil %ein# %rie ly withdrawn. 8o it was lived out in action and in movement& each thin# veered towards a particular destiny or purpose. Duns 8cotus. 'his idea was %oth ancient. which had %een to classi y and #eneralise. I saw the inscape reshly. *hen we say :landscape+. He called the particular intense e"periences he had o a landscape :spots o time+. so they can recapture the poet+s perception and e"perience.. He constantly attempted this in his journals and letters. 'he whole -omantic enterprise was to see nature in its individuality. . as it were. seen in the -omantic poets. Duns 8cotus Hopkins incorporated the ideas o Duns 8cotus into his theolo#y& the poet meetin# the priest. the inscape markedly holdin# its most simple and %eauti ul oneness up rom the #round throu#h a #race ul swerve %elow (I think) the sprin# o the %ranches up to the tops o the tim%er. and they had de inite spiritual or mystical si#ni icance or him. we can see each snow lake as %ein# di erent. who care ully la%elled all his concepts. Haecceitas inhered in every created thin#.. and how that individuality is perceived or e"perienced %y the o%server. or :thisness+. animal or human. and modern. It was the mark o its 0reation %y God. and made ine distinctions %etween them. Duns 8cotus was a very technical philosopher. %ein# e"pressed particularly in the writin#s o the medieval theolo#ian and philosopher.or e"ample. 6ne o these was the concept o haecceitas.+Instress+ means the actual e"perience a reader has o inscape& how it is received into the si#ht.+ -omantic ideas 'he $uotation a%ove su##ests the need or contemplation to understand what one is seein#. 'he poet+s jo% is to ind ima#es that will :nail+ the inscape down or readers. 8uch e"periences con irmed or *ordsworth the presence o some divine %ein# %eneath the sur ace o reality.

each hun# %ell has a di erent sound. Haecceitas in Hopkins+ Poetry Hopkins e"pressed 8cotus+ concept as& :to %e determined and distinctive is a per ection. 'his is itsel & :8elves. In the sestet.+ . %ut that ori#inality was not somethin# put on. %ut had to %e rom the core personality o the person.M. *hat Hopkins adds urther is an account o the instress on the hearer& :it is the rehearsal 6 own.+ 8o it is what an individual does that is their telos or destiny (: or that I came+). #oes itsel > mysel it speaks and spells. in act. then %y the lan#ua#e he is #iven to use. re lectin# the Incarnation o his 0reator.%estowed or %estowed rom without. the clue is in the line& :Each mortal thin# does one thin# and the same+ It is in the doin#. 0ryin# *hat I d2 is me& or that I came. thou#h. Hopkins.ire and Henry Purcell %y G. we shall re er to 7s 3in# ishers 0atch . as humans e"press their uni$ueness. *e mi#ht ar#ue that all kin# ishers are the same.+ 'he poet+s per ection.esus 0hrist. %ut it is :each mortal thin#+ not :each mortal species+. 8o kin# ishers :catch ire+> stones :rin#+. he is. *e can see this $uite clearly e"pressed in a num%er o poems. In ul illin# his divine callin#. this a%ility is %estowed rom without. 'he parado" is that. then. Purcell was a musician %ut his inscape was in his actually writin# music. Hopkins clearly had a hi#h view o ori#inality. Duns 8cotus put #reat emphasis on the reedom o the will. so thron#s the ear. In the ormer poem. irstly %y God. music like no other composer+s. 0ertainly each :does one thin# and the same+. Doin# rather than %ein# Here. 8ome o these can %e ound discussed in 'hemes and si#ni icant ideas& 'he %eauty. is to %e writin# poetry in a uni$ue way. yet di erently e"pressed in each person. like clothin#. variety and uni$ueness o nature. He :7cts+ what he :is+. they+re just di erent rom other %irds. that inscape is esta%lished. not the %ein#. Hopkins talks more theolo#ically a%out humans. either sel . they are all re lectin# the #lory o God as e"pressed in 0hrist& it is the same 0hrist in all.individuality (whereas the intellect marks a common humanity). 0reatin# and receivin# music 'his thou#ht has %een put orward in Henry Purcell. or Hopkins. . o a%rupt sel there so thrusts on.

as :dandled a sandalled+ or :Hack and rack+ rom !insey Poplars. linkin# them to#ether in sound. . or Hopkins. Instress could %e seen as an intuition or sudden perception o the :inner law+ o a thin# or person. parallelism is the inscape o poetry. Hulme. to make us distin#uish di erences. 'he movement spran# rom ideas developed %y '. a uni$ue sense is created. lark. put them to#ether and in the usion. 0ertainly. %ut to employ always the e"act word. i#ures o speech. It has %een ar#ued that. could %e seen as parallels o thou#ht> whilst repeatin# patterns o rhythm. Hopkins seems especially ascinated %y parallel lines as one such law o orm.or Hopkins. especially metaphor. %ut it is pro%a%ly too much to apply this to the variety o Hopkins+ poetry.e"act. rhyme and alliteration could %e seen as parallels o sound. playin# with the sound and sense. %lack %ou#h. the e ect o takin# this music into his very %ein#. who as early as @ACD was proposin# to the Poets+ 0lu% in <ondon a poetry %ased on a%solutely accurate presentation o its su%ject with no e"cess ver%ia#e. 0ertainly in He%rew poetry it is. Ima#ism was o icially launched in @A@B when E5ra Pound read and marked up a poem %y Hilda Doolittle. 'he inscape o poetry In many o his attempts to descri%e inscape in landscapes or seascapes.D.E. ?E5ra Pound 'he Ima#ist movement included En#lish and 7merican poets in the early twentieth century who wrote ree verse and were devoted to "clarity o e"pression throu#h the use o precise visual ima#es. =evertheless. A Brief Guide to Imagism In a 8tation o the Metro 'he apparition o these aces in the crowd> Petals on a wet.charmed+ (Duns 8cotus+ 6" ord). 'he irst tenet o the Ima#ist mani esto was "'o use the lan#ua#e o common speech. simile. such as :%ell. 'his was the poet+s task. antithesis. Ima#iste. Hopkins even tries to esta%lish the inscape o particular words." . 0ompound words are another way to e"press the inscape o poetry.He then spends the sestet indin# ima#es to convey the instress on him. not the nearly. lan#ua#e needed constant re reshment to keep its inscape. Hopkins talks o inner laws. nor the merely decorative word." and sent it to Harriet Monroe at Poetry ma#a5ine." 7 strand o modernism. si#ned it "H.swarmed. *e take two amilar words.

in revolt a#ainst the careless thinkin# and -omantic optimism he saw prevailin#. . <awrence.and was inspired %y the critical views o '.poets. Hulme.rench orm Ima#isme. and .. ori#inatin# in @A@B and represented %y E5ra Pound.rench 8ym%olist movement. Ima#ism was a successor to the . Pound %y then was claimin# that he invented Ima#ism to launch H." whether su%jective or o%jective.E. III. 'hree years later.Ima#ism was a reaction a#ainst the la%%y a%stract lan#ua#e and "careless thinkin#" o Geor#ian -omanticism. even 7my <owell thou#ht the movement had run its course. Direct treatment o the "thin#. and . -ichard 7ldin#ton. 'he Ima#ists wrote succinct verse o dry clarity and hard outline in which an e"act visual ima#e made a total poetic statement. and economy o lan#ua#e. In @A@E Pound turned to 9orticism. as well as H. 6ther ima#ists included . Pound+s "In a 8tation o the Metro" started rom a #limpse o %eauti ul aces in a dark su%way and elevated that perception into a crisp vision %y indin# an intensi ied e$uivalent ima#e. 7my <owell. 8. 7 #roup o 7merican and En#lish poets whose poetic pro#ram was ormulated a%out @A@B %y E5ra Pound?in conjunction with ellow poets Hilda Doolittle (H. 'he metaphor provokes a sharp. and 7my <owell lar#ely took over leadership o the #roup. In the early period o ten written in the . Ima#ist poetry aimed to replace muddy a%stractions with e"actness o o%served detail.+s career. IM7GI8'. 'o use a%solutely no word that does not contri%ute to the presentation. !y the time the antholo#y appeared.dpu Ima#ism =ame #iven to a movement in poetry.ames .D.. 7mon# others who wrote Ima#ist . not in se$uence o the metronome. %ut.JChoiJEA. aimin# at clarity o e"pression throu#h the use o precise visual ima#es. .D.lint.php/prmMID/GHGDIsthash.lint. intuitive discovery in order to #et at the essence o li e. Ima#ism sou#ht analo#y with sculpture.or e"ample.ohn Gould . 7my <owell had e ectively appropriated Ima#ism and was seen as the movement+s leader.letcher.8.. 7s re#ardin# rhythm& to compose in se$uence o the musical phrase.D. http&//www. . and others.or#/viewmedia." Pound de ined the tenets o Ima#ist poetry as& I. Pound+s de inition o the ima#e was "that which presents an intellectual and emotional comple" in an instant o time. apt metaphors. 'hou#h Ima#ism as a movement was over %y @A@F. -ichard 7ldin#ton.oyce. and Pound.). H. whereas 8ym%olism had an a inity with music. D. the ideas a%out poetry em%edded in the Ima#ist doctrine pro oundly in luenced ree verse poets throu#hout the twentieth century. and . 7n Ima#ist antholo#y was pu%lished in @A@E that collected work %y *illiam 0arlos *illiams. II.

most o us %elieve that concentration is o the very essence o poetry.e"act. 'o use the lan#ua#e o common speech.H.rom an Ima#ist mani esto& @. Marianne Moore. %ut we %elieve that poetry should render particulars e"actly and not deal in va#ue #eneralities. .inally.ohn Gould . J. <awrence. G. %ut to employ the e"act word. 'o present an ima#e. Eliot were in luenced %y it in their own poetry.poetry were .8. however ma#ni icent and sonorous. H. who seems to us to shirk the real di iculties o his art. *e are not a school o painters. and '. *e %elieve that the individuality o a poet may o ten %e %etter e"pressed in ree verse than in conventional orms. 7%solute reedom in the choice o su%ject. a new cadence means a new idea. D. nor the merely decorative word. never %lurred nor inde inite. *allace 8tevens. It is or this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet. .letcher and Harriet Monroe> and 0onrad 7iken. . E. B. In poetry. not the nearly. 'o produce a poetry that is hard and clear.

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