The Wreck of the Deutschland

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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.[1] 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,[2] and is often considered Hopkins' masterpiece because of its length, ambition, and use of sprung rhythm and instress.

Popular culture[edit]

  • 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Online text and basic information
  2. ^ Readings of the Wreck. Ed. Peter Milward and Raymond Schoder. Chicago: University of Loyola Press, 1976.