The Poetry Style of A.E. Housman
Comments by J. Zimmerman
Books by A.E. Housman:
A Shropshire Lad (first published in 1896).
A Shropshire Lad
Poems of love, longing, and loss, primarily for young men in rural Britain at the start of the 20th century.
- 1st published book of poems.
- 63 poems.
- 1 section.
- [Number of pages depends on whether illustrations are included and how poems are laid out.]
- 16 poems are titled and the rest (being untitled) are referenced by first line.
- Number of lines per stanza are typically 4 lines (for 48 (almost 80%) of the 63 poems).
This is the same as in many of the Scottish Border Ballads, whose content as well as
form appears to resonate with Housman's poems.
- The other line counts (all more than 4 lines per poem) are:
|Lines per poem ||Number of poems
|5 ||3 |
|6 ||1 |
|7 ||1 |
|8 ||4 |
|10 ||1 |
|22 ||1 |
|36 ||1 |
|varied ||3 |
- Born 26 March 1859 in Worcestershire.
- Won scholarship to St. John's College, Oxford, where he studied classics
and roomed with Moses Jackson and A. W. Pollard.
- Immersed in and successful at textual analysis, Housman neglected ancient history and philosophy,
thereby failing his final exams and having to leave college with no degree.
Housman continued his classical studies independently and published his scholarly articles
(on the work of Aeschylus, Euripides, Horace, Ovid, Propertius, and Sophocles).
- Accepted offer from University College London of a professorship of Latin.
- Self-published (after several publishers rejected his MS) his
A Shropshire Lad, 63 poems
on love and death of young rural men.
- Edited the work of Juvenal.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams' On Wenlock Edge
composed for tenor, string quartet, and piano:
a cycle of songs using six poems from
A Shropshire Lad.
- Accepted offer from Trinity College, Cambridge, of the Kennedy Professorship of Latin.
- Published Last Poems.
- Edited the work of Lucan.
- Lectured on his poetry for the first time: in "The Name and Nature of Poetry"
his thesis was that poetry should appeal to emotions rather intellect.
- Died 30 April 1936.
Ashes buried in Ludlow, Shropshire.
- Posthumous publication of More Poems.
- Posthumous publication of Collected Poems.
- A catalogue lists 400 musical settings of Housman's poems
- Tom Stoppard's play The Invention of Love centers on the youthful and the aged
Housman, these two being the main characters;
it helps if one already knows something of Housman's life and his (rejected) love for his
Oxford room-mate, Moses Jackson.
Links and Books.
[Thanks for visiting.]