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A Heart Lost in Wonder
The Life and Faith of Gerard Manley Hopkins
Catharine Randall
Foreword by Lauren F. Winner

PAPERBACK; Published: 7/28/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7770-3
Price: $ 22.99
195 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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Series: Library of Religious Biography

Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of the most beloved English-language poets of all time, lived a life charged with religious drama and vision. The product of a High-Church Anglican family, Hopkins eventually converted to Roman Catholicism and became a priest—after which he stopped writing poetry for many years and became completely estranged from his Protestant family.

A Heart Lost in Wonder provides perspective on the life and work of Gerard Manley Hopkins through both religious and literary interpretation. Catharine Randall tells the story of Hopkins’s intense, charged, and troubled life, and along the way shows readers the riches of religious insight he packed into his poetry. By exploring the poet’s inner life and the Victorian world in which he lived, Randall helps readers to understand better the context and vision of his astonishing and enduring work.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Lauren F. Winner
Alpha: Things Seen and Unseen
1. Preparation
2. Dedication
3. Illumination
4. Desolation
Omega: Immortal Diamond

“A warm and welcoming introduction to Gerard Manley Hopkins, which focuses not only on his poetry but also on his religion, thus filling in the blanks for all those who have wondered what inspired his groundbreaking artistry.”
— James Martin, SJ
author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“Catharine Randall wonderfully captures the sacramental sensibility of a poet and priest for whom the world, to those attuned to the Incarnation, is indeed ‘charged with the grandeur of God’ because the Holy Spirit ‘broods, with warm breast, and with ah! bright wings.’”
— Kenneth L. Woodward
former Religion Editor of Newsweek
“Catharine Randall has composed a luminous retelling of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s life as his intermittent awakenings to the mystery of the Incarnation. With great attention to detail, she bears witness to the sacramental moments when Hopkins’s poetry proclaims the revelation of God and Man as indissolubly joined together.”
— Donald E. Pease
Dartmouth College
“Readers who have long cherished Hopkins’s luminous, strenuous poetry and readers who are discovering it for the first time will alike appreciate Catharine Randall’s informative biographical reflections. Focused on how his life of faith informed his poetry, this book invites us, as well, to recognize how word work as a spiritual practice rewards both writer and reader, and leads us, if we let it, into a deeper way of prayer.”
— Marilyn McEntyre
author of When Poets Pray
“The point of hagiography is not blunt emulation—few of us will read A Heart Lost in Wonder, or indeed Hopkins himself, and take up writing verse. Rather, saints deepen our questions, and A Heart Lost in Wonder is a hagiography insofar as the experience of looking at Hopkins’s faithfulness moves us to ask about our own.”
— Lauren F. Winner
from the foreword
Church Times
“Catharine Randall chooses just the right theme for this excellent introduction to Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is the sheer intensity with which he experienced life.”
Englewood Review of Books
A Heart Lost in Wonder is timely. At this cultural moment, with all the uncertainty and brokenness, we need encounters with beauty more than ever. Even a casual acquaintance with Hopkins’s poems will train your senses to perceive more of the glories of creation. While there is, of course, a place for the escape of entertainment, we have been given an opportunity to engage like Hopkins with a ‘world charged with the grandeur of God.” We are being invited to take a break from our virtual bubbles and participate in reality. May that thrill us and lead us to a more embodied spirituality.’”