2018 Autumn Meeting at Mount St Mary’s College

The 2018 Hopkins Lecture was a most illuminating and thought provoking lecture on the similarities and differences between the works of Milton and Hopkins. The essence of the lecture being that Hopkins followed Milton’s style in writing sonnets using the Miltonian or Petrarchan form as against the Shakespearian or English form. But that towards the end of his life

Hopkins altered even the Miltonian form to his own purposes, thereby inventing a new sonnet form using sprung rhythm …. Lunch was followed by a tour of the college, visiting the nearby Spinkhill Catholic Parish Church with its beautiful millennial modern stained glass windows and also the sodality chapel (the oldest part of the building dating from the time the Roman Catholic Pole family built a chapel as part of the house following the reformation, in order that mass could still be celebrated in secret in the area.

The last session of the day featured a presentation by Jill Robson describing Hopkins time at the school, and extracts from letters home (ably read by Lore Chumbley), and the then industrial geography of the surrounding area, including Sheffield resulting in only one poem being written by Hopkins while at Spinkhill: “The Loss of the Eurydice”. Lance Pierson read this poem in the final session, along with a poem written after Spinkhill but inspired by two pupils there: “Brothers”, the latter reading being aided by society members in its reading.

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