A. E. Housman

A. E. Housman: (Alfred Edward Housman) (hous´mən), 1859–1936, English poet and scholar, whose verse exerted a strong influence on later poets. He left Oxford without a degree because he had failed his final examinations. Ever afterward he was a coldly reserved and aloof man, a recluse seemingly without emotional life. After serving for 10 years in the civil service, he became in 1892 a professor of Latin at University College, London, and in 1911 professor of Latin at Cambridge and fellow of Trinity College. Housman proved to be one of the finest classical scholars of his time. He produced a monumental edition of Manilius (5 vol., 1903–30), edited Juvenal (1905) and Lucan (1926), and wrote valuable classical studies. But it is as a poet that he is best known, although only two small volumes appeared during his lifetime, A Shropshire Lad (1896) and Last Poems (1922). His verse is noted for its economy of words and directness of statement, pictures of the English countryside, and the fusion of humor and pathos. The passing of youth and the inevitability of death is his most characteristic theme. His best-known poems include "When I Was One-and-twenty," "With Rue My Heart Is Laden," "To an Athlete Dying Young," and "Far in a Western Brookland." His essay The Name and Nature of Poetry (1933) was originally given as a lecture at Cambridge.

See his complete poems (ed. by T. B. Haber, with an introduction by B. Davenport, 1959); biography by G. Richards (1942, repr. 1973); studies by T. B. Haber (1967), A. S. Sydenham (1936, repr. 1973), and B. J. Leggett (1978).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Poems of A. E. Housman
Archie Burnett; A. E. Housman.
Clarendon Press, 1997
Housman, 1897-1936
Grant Richards.
Oxford University Press, 1942
A. E. Housman: Scholar and Poet
Norman Marlow.
University of Minnesota Press, 1958
A. E. Housman: A Sketch, Together with a List of His Writings and Indexes to His Classical Papers
A. S. F. Gow.
Macmillan, 1936
A. E. Housman: A Divided Life
George L. Watson.
Rupert Hart-Davis, 1957
A. E. Housman: Man behind a Mask
Maude M. Hawkins.
Henry Regnery, 1958
The Poet's Defence
.
Unknown, 1939
Librarian’s tip: "Alfred Edward Housman" begins on p. 209
The Profession of Poetry and Other Lectures
H. W. Garrod.
The Claredon Press, 1929
Librarian’s tip: "Mr. A. E. Housman" begins on p. 211
Contemporary English Literature
Mark Longaker; Edwin C. Bolles.
Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1953
Librarian’s tip: "A. E. Housman (1859-1936)" begins on p. 75
The Kenyon Critics: Studies in Modern Literature from the Kenyon Review
John Crowe Ransom.
World Pub. Co., 1951
Librarian’s tip: "The Whole of Housman" begins on p. 267
The Condemned Playground: Essays: 1927-1944
Cyril Connolly.
Macmillan, 1946
Librarian’s tip: "A. E. Housman: A Controversy" begins on p. 47
Man's Unconquerable Mind: Studies of English Writers: From Bede to A. E. Housman and W. P. Ker
R. W. Chambers.
Jonathan Cape, 1939
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XII "Philologists at University College London: Platt, Housman, and Ker: 1889-1922"
Collected Papers on Latin Literature
R. G. M. Nisbet; S. J. Harrison.
Oxford University, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 17 "On Housman's Juvenal"
The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition
E. Christian Kopff.
ISI Books, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of A. E. Housman begins on p. 162
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