This volume, the latest in Oxford's edititon of The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, presents Hopkins at his most private and self-considering: there are mundane memoranda about neckties to purchase or letters to write, but also exacting revisions of poems.
There are entries of quiet rapture, his attention caught by the unexpected sight of a bluebell or 'some delicate flying shafted ashes ... between which the sun sent straight bright slenderishpanes of silver sunbeams down the slant towards the eye'.
Paintings, sculptures, and works of literature are stringently assessed, his aesthetic principles freely exercised.
There are also nightmares relived; undergraduate 'sins' unsparingly recorded; 'signs' of heavenly mercy carefully noted; small acts of'kindness' from others, both unexpected and restorative, gratefully acknowledged.
Like most diarists, Hopkins was committed to life-writing practices not simply to itemize his daily activities, but to explore the possibilities of textual 'selving'.
The space of the page was the opportunity, incitement, and necessity of reporting what had been seen, what had been felt, what had been feared, in order both to memorialize the experiences and to make possible subsequent re-readings.
Thus, thediaries and notebooks are a summary of the present and an investment in-even a prediction of-future responses.
The entries extend from September 1863, during his second term at Oxford, until February 1875, while studying theology as a Jesuit in his beloved Wales, and from February 1884 until July 1885,while Hopkins was living at a 'third remove' in Dublin, Ireland as a Classics Professor at University College and Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland.