Good things in life are worth waiting for, if we manage to live long enough. When complete, there will be eight volumes in The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins and now, seven years after the first (Volume IV) was published, Volumes I and II are on the shelf. Of the remaining five, The Dublin Notebook (Volume VII) might be published before the end of this year and Volume III, Journals and Diaries (which will include all of the previously expurgated diary entries from 1865-66), should appear in 2014. Volume V, Sermons and Spiritual Writings, is due the following year, while Volume VI, Sketches, Notes and Studies, and the final Volume VIII, covering the poetry, are hovering somewhere on the horizon. Serendipitous it may seem, even haphazard when Volume IV, entitled Oxford Essays and Notes, does not include all of Hopkins’s prose texts from his Oxford undergraduate years; his writings in a large notebook from 1862-65 (the manuscript now known as B.II) will be part of Volume VI instead. Any such response would be churlish to say the least when consideration is given to the difficulty of the task facing editors working to compile and present the most complete collection of Hopkins’s writings that is humanly possible. When it comes to just his correspondence, never mind other issues, the two volumes have a “Lost Letters” section detailing what is known to be missing or destroyed by Hopkins and others.
more from Sean Sheehan at Dublin Review of Books here.