The Wreck of the Deutschland
The Wreck of the Deutschland is a long poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins with Christian themes, composed in 1875 and 1876, though not published until 1918. The poem depicts the shipwreck of the SS Deutschland. Among those killed in the shipwreck were five Franciscan nuns forced to leave Germany by the Falk Laws; the poem is dedicated to their memory.
In the 90 years since the poem's publication, it has attracted considerable critical attention, and is often considered Hopkins' masterpiece because of its length, ambition, and use of sprung rhythm and instress.
- Hopkins's struggles while writing the poem form the basis for the Ron Hansen novel Exiles.
- The poem plays a major role in Anthony Burgess' third "Enderby" novel, The Clockwork Testament, or Enderby's End, in which Enderby pitches an idea for a movie adaptation of the poem and produces a script, only to be duly horrified when the resulting movie bears little resemblance to either his script or to Hopkins's poem. It also makes a notable appearance in Muriel Spark's novella The Girls of Slender Means, recited by the character Joanna, a budding teacher of elocution in WWII London.
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- Online text and basic information
- Readings of the Wreck. Ed. Peter Milward and Raymond Schoder. Chicago: University of Loyola Press, 1976.
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