A.E. Housman (1859-1936) used to be a poet of huge attractiveness and frequent effect: a Latin student of front rank, an outstanding prose stylist, a striking author of comedian verse and, because of the big good fortune of A Shropshire Lad, one of many maximum and best-known poems within the English language, he turned a legend in his personal lifetime. Reissued to mark the centenary of the book of A Shropshire Lad, Norman Page's highly-acclaimed biography is considered the main entire account of Housman's lifestyles and occupation on hand. Drawing on quite a lot of assets, together with a lot unpublished fabric, Norman web page offers us with a desirable perception into Housman the poet, the student and the guy. `By a ways the easiest biography of Housman we now have ... ' - Andrew movement, occasions Literary Supplement
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Extra resources for A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography
To the end of his life he seems to have treated Housman with the detached interest and unagitating affection one brings to a relationship which includes shared memories of youth but excludes most of what is important in later life - a relationship renewed at long intervals with mild pleasure but quite without urgency. For Housman, it was the love affair of his life, and his unrequited devotion was still constant when Jackson died more than forty years later after a career of useful obscurity in the service of Empire.
At any rate, he seems to have been reasonably gratified by the result, his letter making the scrupulous distinction that it was 'better than anyone else thought I should do, and better than I myself fancied I had actually done'. In his second year he had attempted the competition for the Newdigate Prize, awarded since 1805 for the best English poem on a set subject and traditionally the first hurdle in the career of an aspiring Oxford poet. Housman would have recalled that it had been won by his favourite Matthew Arnold, and probably knew that the previous year's prizeman had been Oscar Wilde.
It thus came about that he drove us without seeming to do so. He did not appear to be saying, 'I insist on you learning'. Rather he created the feeling that Latin and Greek have to be treated in the living and intense way of which he was giving us an example. * Again, that 'living and intense' way was later to characterize Housman's own classical teaching. Alfred 'took no part in games or athletics', but he had a 'natural liking for book-learning' ,* did well academically, and won a prize for English verse.
A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography by Norman