Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Wreck of the Deutschland (2107 words)


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“The Wreck of the Deutschland” (1875‒6; 1918) was composed after a superior of Hopkins at St Beuno’s Jesuit college in North Wales suggested someone write a poem about this maritime disaster. The SS Deutschland was wrecked 6-7 December 1875 on the Kentish Knock, a shoal in the North Sea. The ship contained emigrants bound for New York (via Southampton) after departing Bremerhaven in Germany. On board the ship were five Franciscan nuns, leaving Germany due to the repressive anti-Catholic Falk Laws. The number five takes on special significance in Hopkins’s poem as representative of the five wounds of Christ, “the finding and sake / And cipher of suffering Christ” (169‒170). There was a long delay before help …

Citation: White, Adam. "The Wreck of the Deutschland". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 March 2016 [, accessed 18 June 2021.]

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