"But Who Looks East at Sunset?" Gerard Manley Hopkins and Scientific Perception

Conference Paper
Author:Nowviskie, Bethany, University of Virginia LibraryUniversity of Virginia ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-1788-5154

This essay examines published scientific writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins in the context of his poetry, journal-writing, and correspondence on subjective and objective cognition, or “unusually observant” perception. Hopkins’ response to special atmospheric conditions (the after-effects of the Krakatoa eruption, and the phenomenon of rayons du crepuscule at sunset) is considered in a matrix of Victorian scientific amateurism, conflicting views on observational agency and perspective, and precision in poetic and descriptive language. Key to valid scientific observation, for Hopkins, are internal and perspectival conditions under which the outside world may be “beautifully witnessed.”

Gerard Manley Hopkins, observation, aesthetics, poetry, Krakatoa, atmospheric phenomena
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Source Citation:

Nowviskie, Bethany. ""But Who Looks East at Sunset?" Gerard Manley Hopkins and Scientific Perception." Victorians Institute 2010: “By the Numbers: The Victorian Quantification of Everything", Charlottesville, Virginia. 2010.

University of Virginia
Published Date:
4 October 2010