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This report is taken from PN Review 226, Volume 42 Number 2, November - December 2015.

Après une lecture de Hopkins Frank Kuppner
1. Such a great poet! But, really, is superb verbal mastery ultimately a guarantee of anything? (Or anything as to the objective validity of the content, I suppose must be what is bothering me here. (Mere prosaic truth, in fact. (Not everyone’s particular literary-poetical enthusiasm, understandably enough; I do realise that.))) No. Rarely, I suspect, has (excuse me) rampant, impossiblist, ‘Can adults seriously believe this?’ conceptual fairy-tale fantasy been more sensationally well expressed. Perhaps not even, I sometimes dare to think, possibly thanks to my minimal Italian, by Dante himself. (Which, as the phrase goes, would indeed be saying something.)

2. One does also realise that true faith, the genuine and profound article, is not even remotely troubled by unanswerable objections. (Indeed, such things cannot possibly exist. At most they can only be ultimately illusory difficulties. (Possibly the work of the Devil – if one really has to consider the question at all.))

3. It is roughly (yes, yes – very roughly) as if Shakespeare truly believed the Moon was made of green cheese – and could write about little else besides this astonishing, this over-powering fact of existence. After all, what else would be important enough to deserve the application of such eerie literary powers? (Indeed, in terms of mere conceptual plausibility, wouldn’t such a view have been inherently rather less absurd than Hopkins’? After all: at least the Moon does really exist – (doesn’t it?) – as do cheeses. And some things are indeed green.)

4. His one real subject ...

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