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, shy, and aloof man, a recluse seemingly without emotional life, but in truth a deeply closeted homosexual who may never have acted on his feelings. 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, and a caustic critic of other scholars. Specializing in textual criticism, he produced a monumental edition of Manilius (5 vol., 1903–30), edited Juvenal (1905) and Lucan (1926), and wrote valuable classical studies. It is, however, 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, and is widely thought of as quintessentially English. The passing of youth and the inevitability of death are his most characteristic themes. 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), biography and critical study by P. Parker (2017); studies by T. B. Haber (1967), A. S. Sydenham (1936, repr. 1973), and B. J. Leggett (1978).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

A. E. Housman: Selected full-text books and articles

The Poems of A. E. Housman By A. E. Housman; Archie Burnett Clarendon Press, 1997
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Housman, 1897-1936 By Grant Richards Oxford University Press, 1942
A. E. Housman: Scholar and Poet By Norman Marlow University of Minnesota Press, 1958
A. E. Housman: A Divided Life By George L. Watson Rupert Hart-Davis, 1957
A. E. Housman: Man behind a Mask By Maude M. Hawkins Henry Regnery, 1958
The Poet's Defence By J. Bronowski University Press, 1939
Librarian's tip: "Alfred Edward Housman" begins on p. 209
The Profession of Poetry and Other Lectures By H. W. Garrod The Claredon Press, 1929
Librarian's tip: "Mr. A. E. Housman" begins on p. 211
Contemporary English Literature By 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 By John Crowe Ransom World Pub. Co., 1951
Librarian's tip: "The Whole of Housman" begins on p. 267
The Condemned Playground: Essays: 1927-1944 By 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 By 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 By 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 By E. Christian Kopff ISI Books, 1999
Librarian's tip: Discussion of A. E. Housman begins on p. 162
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