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By Norman

A.E. Housman (1859-1936) used to be a poet of large recognition and frequent effect: a Latin student of front rank, an outstanding prose stylist, a outstanding author of comedian verse and, due to the large luck of A Shropshire Lad, one of many maximum and best-known poems within the English language, he grew to become a legend in his personal lifetime. Reissued to mark the centenary of the ebook of A Shropshire Lad, Norman Page's highly-acclaimed biography is considered the main whole account of Housman's lifestyles and profession to be had. Drawing on quite a lot of assets, together with a lot unpublished fabric, Norman web page presents us with a desirable perception into Housman the poet, the student and the fellow. `By a long way the simplest biography of Housman we've ... ' - Andrew movement, instances Literary Supplement

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Additional resources for A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography

Example text

It is not clear just when he began seriously to pursue in private, as an alternative to the required syllabus, the study of Propertius - a poet who would certainly have paid no examination dividend at that period. But the academic bankruptcy which resulted from Housman's unorthodox course of study was still some way off, and in the Moderations examination in 1879 he was placed, together with Pollard and Lawrence, in the first class. Oxford 39 good year for St John's classicists, who figure much less prominently, and often not at all, in the lists offirst classes in the years immediately preceding and following.

Intellectually, Oxford had failed to offer him what he sought, the classical curriculum of the day satisfying neither his appetite for exact scholarship nor his love of poetry. None of the various sets into which the Oxford undergraduate of the period might be drawn social, athletic, aesthetic, political or pious - appealed to him. Oscar Wilde had filled his rooms with blue china, hunted such Oxford lions as Pater and Ruskin (and worked on the latter's famous road at Hinksey), dazzled his contemporaries with his conversation, and dismayed his elders with his impertinence.

In Housman's first year, Jowett was lecturing on Aristotle's Politics (and, as we have seen, Housman sat at his feet for only a very limited spell); the Corpus Professor of Latin, Palmer, on Tacitus; the Waynflete Professor of Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy, Chandler, on Aristotle. It was a system which neither encouraged nor rewarded a taste for poetry or for close engagement with an author's text - that 'exact scholarship' of which Jowett was so impatient but for which, with poetry, Housman had already developed a marked taste.

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