Tuesday 9 October 2018

Book Review: As Kingfishers Catch Fire; Gerard Manley Hopkins.

There's something about Autumn that really makes me appreciate nature - leaves falling off of trees and crunching underfoot is probably a big part of it, and the colder weather kind of makes me fall in love with the season cycle EVEN THOUGH I hate the cold. This little black classic caught my eye because it's sole focus is the beauty of nature, and so it seemed like a great, very quick read.

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: As Kingfishers Catch Fire
AUTHOR: Gerard Manley Hopkins
SERIES: Little Black Classics (#2)
GENRE: Classic, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Journal
RATING: 2.5/5 Stars

'O let them be left, wildness and wet' 

As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a selection of Gerard Manley Hopkins' incomparably brilliant poetry, ranging from the ecstasy of 'The Windhover' and 'Pied Beauty' to the heart-wrenching despair of the 'sonnets of desolation'. 

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

What I Liked:
  • There was a ton of gorgeous, vivid imagery about nature here and I really liked that aspect of this work. Especially in his journals at the end! He describes perfectly his rambles and hikes around the countryside and mountains and it was very interesting to see these places from a 19th century perspective.
What I Disliked:
  • I had a lot of little niggles that added up to this being a book that I wasn't all that impressed by. Firstly - it was a little on the preachy side. I expected it of course given Hopkin's religious persuasion but I didn't enjoy it. Also, he uses a very sprung rhythm and visually aids the readers with accents which really irritated me.
Overall Conclusion:
This certainly wasn't bad, and I see why people with different tastes to my own have enjoyed it. But for me, this didn't stick out as a masterpiece above all others. I liked the journals (far less religion-centric) and the vivid pictures of nature I got from the poems, but didn't like the rhythm and feel of these at all.

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