A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography by Norman

By Norman

A.E. Housman (1859-1936) was once a poet of large reputation and common impact: a Latin pupil of front rank, an excellent prose stylist, a awesome author of comedian verse and, because of the big luck 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 e-book of A Shropshire Lad, Norman Page's highly-acclaimed biography is considered the main whole account of Housman's existence and occupation to be had. Drawing on a variety of assets, together with a lot unpublished fabric, Norman web page presents us with a desirable perception into Housman the poet, the student and the guy. `By a long way the easiest biography of Housman we now have ... ' - Andrew movement, instances Literary Supplement

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Towards the end of Alfred's school career impecuniosity began to press heavily upon the Housmans. Ifhe was to proceed to a university, he would need to win a scholarship; but where he should make the attempt was not immediately obvious. One grandfather had been at 28 A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography Cambridge, the other at Oxford. * Be that as it may, to Oxford he went. The obvious choice of college would have been Balliol, which led the field academically; but his father disapproved of Jowett's liberal theological position and would not permit him to try there.

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. The subject for 1879 was 'Iona', and Housman was placed third - if not exactly success, certainly not a disgraceful result. The poem was said to have been produced at an all-night sitting, presumably just before the deadline of 31 March; the next morning, according to a legend almost too neat to be true, the lesson in chapel included the words 'we have toiled all the night, 40 A.

Ifhe was to proceed to a university, he would need to win a scholarship; but where he should make the attempt was not immediately obvious. One grandfather had been at 28 A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography Cambridge, the other at Oxford. * Be that as it may, to Oxford he went. The obvious choice of college would have been Balliol, which led the field academically; but his father disapproved of Jowett's liberal theological position and would not permit him to try there. On 15 January 1877, according to Lucy Housman's diary, 'Alfred went to Oxford for the first time in his life'* and sat the scholarship examination at Corpus Christi College.

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