Alfred Edward Housman

Last Updated: 27 Jul 2020
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A.E.Housman (Alfred Edward Housman) was born on March 26th 1859 in Fockbury, Worcerstershire. He was basically a classical scholar and an English origin poet. He was famous for his poem A Shropshire Lad. These short and poetic poems were written before the 19th century. The thoughful suggestion of fated youth in England, their auxilary, language and chracteristic description was appealing to the Geogian and and Edwardian composer prior and following the WW1.

Housman was reckoned among the leading classic writers of his time. He had created a name for himself after printing as a private scholar and because of which he was selected as a Latin Professor at the College London University and than later at the prestigious Cambridge. His famous editions of Lucan, Juvenal and Manilius are said to be very well respected. With these settings of poetry, the generation was strongly linked and were also were much connected with the Shropshire poems as well. Alfred Edward Housman was the son of a country solicitor and the eldest of his seven siblings. His sister Clemence Housman and Laurance Housman also became writers.

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A.E.Housman went to school at King Edward and than later to Bromsgrove school where he had a strong academic foundation and won numerous prizes for his poetry. He got a scholarship at St Johns College, Oxford in 1877 where he got education in classics.

He was amazing in analyzing texts. He became so much involved into Texts that he did not retake philosophy and ancient history and even did not take a passing degree. He did not make much friends with his only friends being his roommates A.W.Pollard and Moses Jackson. Alfred Housman had a hard and usually reserved feelings for his friend Moses Jackons which were refused by Jackson as he was hetrosexual. This refusal by Moses led to Alfred unpredicted failure in his exams in 1881.

Jackson got a clerk job in the Patent office in London and also got Housman a job there. They started sharing an apartmen with Adalbert who was the elder brother of Jackson. They stayed there till 1885 after which Housman moved into his own apartment on his own. In 1887 Moses married and moved to Karachi (Than in India) and later in 1982 Adalbert Jackson died. Alfred still continued to write classical studies on his own and also published some quality articles on numerous authors like Sophocles, Ovid, Aeschylus, Propertius, Horace and Euripides.

In this period, Alfred managed to study Roman and Greek classics very throughly. He became a Latin Professor at Cambridge Trinity College in 1911 and till his death he had held the position. Alfred Housman managed to gain fame with his classic editions of the famous poets of Rome mainly Manilus, Juvenal and Lucan and also for his thorough and clever comments and his contempt for the unscholarly.

Poems of Alfred Edward Housman

During his life Alfred Housman had managed to publish only two poetry volumes: One being published in 1896 by the name of Shropshire Lad and the other in 1922 which was Last Poems.

A Shropshire lad is a collection of his 63 poems with the majority written after his close friend Adalbert Jackons death in 1982. The main themes of the peoms were based upon unreturned love, green beauty, brief youth, sorrow, demise and the common soldiers patriotism. After his scripts were refused by many of the publishers, he decided to print them on his own expenditure which was a shock for his students and his colleagues.

The Shropshire Lad was a rather slow in momentum to gain popularity, the arrival of war, at first in the Boer war and than later in WW1, gave this book a widespread popularity because of its regretfulness potrayal of the English troops. Numerous composers of music managed to make different setting of musical for the work of Housman which increased his popularity.

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Alfred Edward Housman. (2016, Jun 21). Retrieved from

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