‘With, all down darkness wide, his wading light?’: Light and dark in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s ‘The Candle Indoors’ and ‘The Lantern out of Doors’

Richard Leahy


This article explores the symbolic values of light and darkness in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Hopkins was fascinated by oppositional discourses and as such his poetry is resonant with dichotomous systems of metaphor; his struggles with faith and doubt, and his search for positivity in the midst of depression are both articulated through the oppositional concepts of light and dark. The candle functions uniquely within this metaphoric structure, as it breaches the bounds of darkness while still making it more ever-present. This article explores how Hopkins utilises the candle and its semiological expression to draw attention to the liminality of his beliefs.


Gerard Manley Hopkins; light; candle; faith; dualism; poetry; Victorian; gaze; power; darkness

Full Text: PDF