A Shropshire Lad, A. E. Housman
A Shropshire Lad A. E. Housman
This entry represents criticism of Housman's A Shropshire Lad. For more information on Housman's life and career, see PC, Volume 2.
Housman's reputation as a poet rests primarily on A Shropshire Lad (1896), a collection of short lyrical ballads set in rural England and focused on the adolescent passions and loss of innocence of a young yeoman. Housman uses the pastoral setting of A Shropshire Lad to explore themes of death, lost love, and the passing of youth in a merciless universe devoid of divine grace or mercy.
Plot and Major Characters
A Shropshire Lad contains sixty-three poems, most of them a page or less in length. As few of the poems were titled by Housman, critics tend to refer to individual poems within the volume by number of the order in which they appear or by the first line, phrase, or word of any given poem. The central character of this verse collection is the Shropshire lad, Terence Hearsay, a young yeoman of Shropshire, England. A Shropshire Lad is pastoral, evoking a strong sense of place in the setting of rural England, peopled by farm laborers, artisans, and country lasses, as well as soldiers who come from such settings. Housman's poetry makes use of colloquial English diction in lyrical verse of traditional form, meter, and rhyme. He frequently uses the four-line ballad stanza, with an alternating rhyme scheme of abab. Also characteristic of Housman's verse are pithy one- to three-line epigrams, as well as dramatic monologues.
Many of the major themes of A Shropshire Lad have been characterized as essentially adolescent. Among Housman's central themes are youthful passions, the loss of innocence, and the passing of youth. Other major themes include the inevitability of death and the destructive nature of time. Time and the passage of time are treated by Housman as agents of loss and death. Time is thus the enemy of youth, friendship, and love. Throughout the volume, Housman expresses a preoccupation with life's transience. The theme of death is expressed through instances of suicide, premature death, and murder. His focus on mortality is presented pessimistically and as inevitable in a harsh, uncaring universe abandoned by God. John W. Stevenson observed that the Shropshire lad symbolizes “man's search for identity in a world he never made.” Youth, though treated by Housman with a degree of sentimentality, is also represented as a bitter period of unrequited love, lost love, and passing beauty. Stevenson commented that the Shropshire lad further symbolizes “the precarious yet certain progress of man from youth to maturity in which always inheres the nostalgic yearning for the simplicity of the past.” Housman's setting of rural Shropshire and his strong sense of place serve to characterize A Shropshire Lad as pastoral. While some critics regard Housman's pastoralism in the tradition of the Romantic poets, others suggest that it is not idealized but rather a setting in which the harsh realities of nature are played out. In light of such pessimism, Housman expresses a sense of urgency by which youth are encouraged to seize the day and experience what life has to offer before it ends.
Housman is widely recognized as a minor English poet. His enduring literary reputation has been characterized by the contrast of continuing popularity with the reading public and general neglect by critics and scholars. Several critics have tried to account for this strong discrepancy between readers and critics in regard to Housman, which spurred the critic J. B. Priestley to describe A Shropshire Lad as a volume of verse that has been “courted in private and shunned in public.” Critics generally agree that what makes Housman a minor poet is his limited range in tone, theme, and subject matter and his uninventive use of traditional verse forms. Many have observed that Housman's verse never developed beyond the adolescent sensibilities of his earliest work. A number of critics have commented that the poems of A Shropshire Lad are so simple and direct as to preclude the necessity for extensive analysis. B. J. Leggett observed in 1970 that, “No opinion was so predominant among Housman's early commentators as that which asserted that his verses are marked by an essential simplicity of form and thought, and this view is still in evidence today.” Some critics, however, refer to Housman's verse as deceptively simple. Leggett, for example, argued that “Housman's poetry is more subtle and more complex than has been acknowledged by his commentators,” adding, “But only rarely have critics looked beneath the smooth surface of his poems to glimpse the perplexities of his themes and structures.” Others have contended that A Shropshire Lad is in fact transparently simple, with little hidden complexity beneath its surface level simplicity. Many critics agree that Housman, for all his limited range, demonstrates skilled craftsmanship in the creation of traditional verse ballads. However, others, such as A. R. Coulthard, argue that even in the realm of craftsmanship Housman is largely flawed. Coulthard asserted that A Shropshire Lad is rife with awkward diction, odd syntax, lapses in taste, and clichés. According to Coulthard, “Despite Housman's reputation as a craftsman, much of his poetry gives the impression of casual, formulaic composition.”
The popularity of A Shropshire Lad was slow in building. The first edition was published in only five hundred copies, at Housman's own expense. It took two years for this limited edition to sell out. With several subsequent editions, however, the volume gained a broader readership. In the first few years of the twentieth century the popularity of A Shropshire Lad increased dramatically, and the volume eventually became one of the all-time best-selling books of English verse. Early posthumous critical response to Housman was largely negative, as his simple, traditional, romantic themes were at odds with the modernist sensibilities of the 1930s and 1940s. More positive critical attention was often concerned with tracing the autobiographical elements of A Shropshire Lad, based on Housman's own personal experiences. Some critics were particularly interested in the expression of Housman's homosexuality through his verse. Leggett has commented that Housman “has suffered, like Byron, from the fact that his personality is of more interest to many readers than his poetry, and that for some scholars the poetry is valuable only as a key to the personality.” Stevenson concurred, “The history of Housman criticism is almost wholly a history of finding the mystery of the man in his poetry as if it were a key to the private world of the creator of A Shropshire Lad.” Critical discussion of A Shropshire Lad today tends to focus on the phenomenon of its enduring popularity, despite Housman's undisputed status as a minor poet. Various critics have tried to account for both Housman's continuing appeal to readers and persistent neglect by critics. Stevenson, writing in 1986, asserted that Housman's enduring popularity can be accounted for in part because “The Shropshire voice spoke to some far longing in the soul of modern man.” Commentators continue to discuss the specific strengths and weaknesses of A Shropshire Lad, some maintaining that Housman is a more skilled poet than critics give him credit for, and others asserting that his verse is even more seriously flawed than his reputation suggests.
A Shropshire Lad 1896
Last Poems 1922
More Poems [edited by Laurence Housman] 1936
Additional Poems 1937
The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman [edited by John Carter] 1939
The Manuscript Poems of A. E. Housman [edited by Tom Burns Haber] 1955
The Complete Poems of A. E. Housman [Centennial Edition; edited by Tom Burns Haber] 1959
The Making of A Shropshire Lad: A Manuscript Varorium [edited by Tom Burns Haber] 1966
Poetry and Prose: A Selection [edited by F. C. Horwood] 1971
A. E. Housman: Collected poems and Selected Prose [edited by Christopher Ricks] 1988
The Poems of A. E. Housman [edited by Archie Burnett] 1997
The Name and Nature of Poetry (essays) 1933
Thirty Housman Letters to Witter Bynner [edited by Tom Burns Haber] (letters) 1957
A. E. Housman to Joseph Ishill: Five Unpublished Letters [edited by William White] (letters) 1959
A. E. Housman: Selected Prose [edited by John Carter] (prose) 1961
The Letters of A. E. Housman [edited by Henry Mass] (letters) 1970
The Classical Papers of A. E. Housman. 3 vols. [edited by J. Diggle and F. R. D....
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SOURCE: Priestley, J. B. “The Poetry of A. E. Housman.” London Mercury 7, no. 38 (December 1922): 171-84.
[In the following essay, Priestley suggests some reasons why critics have tended to ignore Housman's poetry in discussions of serious literature. He praises both A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems for their unity of mood.]
Mr. A. E. Housman is easily our most surprising poet. His first surprise was A Shropshire Lad itself, one of the most astonishing volumes in a very astonishing literature. It came to us practically a full-grown masterpiece, and the production of what used to be regarded as a lyric poet's maturity. He gave us no interesting juvenilia to examine; we have never seen the beginnings, when he was working under half-a-dozen conflicting influences, when his own manner was only half developed. His next surprise was to maintain an almost unbroken silence for over a quarter of a century—to be exact, from 1896 to this present year. As time went on it seemed to us that he had said what he had had to say in a clear, unfaltering voice, and then, having eased his heart, had passed on in silence. It was as if a man in a noisy crowded company had suddenly broken his silence with a few golden words, and had then closed his lips for ever. But no, in this present publishing season there has come, out of the blue, his third surprise, a new volume of lyrics bearing the...
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SOURCE: Stevenson, John W. “The Pastoral Setting in the Poetry of A. E. Housman.” South Atlantic Quarterly 55, no. 4 (October 1956): 487-500.
[In the following essay, Stevenson examines the element of pastoralism in A Shropshire Lad and concludes that Housman's brand of pastoral is realistic rather than artificial and idyllic.]
An obvious comment on Housman is that he wrote in a pastoral vein; it is more difficult to define the nature of his pastoralism and its contribution to the peculiar and singular achievement of his poetry. Critics have found it hard to explain the quality and texture of his verse, praising him rather for his classical smoothness and restraint, his clarity and succinctness, and his polish and lightness. None has adequately explained the reason for his poetic success or defined the quality which makes his poetry work. A great deal of his success seems to lie in the manner in which he approached his subject matter, and that manner most frequently was a studied pastoralism, a view of the universe set in the English countryside.
While Housman's contemporaries were lamenting the plight of the poet in society and expressing their frustration and their over-refined theories of art in the precocious pages of The Yellow Book, his slim volume of verse [A Shropshire Lad] appeared (1896), revealing his brand of philosophic pessimism; instead of a...
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SOURCE: Stevenson, John W. “The Martyr as Innocent: Housman's Lonely Lad.” South Atlantic Quarterly 57, no. 1 (winter 1958): 69-85.
[In the following essay, Stevenson discusses the function and meaning of the main character, as well as the narrative point of view, in A Shropshire Lad. He concludes that the Shropshire lad symbolizes the loss of innocence and man's search for identity.]
It is strange that no one has thought to define the nature and attitude of Housman's characters: his soldiers, his lovers, his rustics. Such people as Ned and Dick turn out to be merely names of the only character of the poems, the Shropshire lad. Unlike names that are usually associated with a particular novel or poem or drama, there is revealed on the surface only an anonymous person in the ubiquitous lad of the western hills, an anonymity, on closer examination, discovered to be very real. He is essentially the Child, the innocent first confronted with the discovery of knowledge of good and evil, who will not be instructed in the forgetful kingdom of death; he is, to borrow Mr. David Daiches's description, “the melodramatic figure … who passes from inexperience to sorrow, from illusion to bitter disillusion, from content to regret. …” He is at the turning of time, and Housman identifies the origins of his “tears of eternity, and sorrow” at the primal point
When Adam walked in Eden...
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SOURCE: Leggett, B. J. Introduction to Housman's Land of Lost Content: A Critical Study of “A Shropshire Lad,” pp. 3-11. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1970.
[In the following excerpt, Leggett provides an overview of the critical reception—or lack of critical attention—of Housman's poetry.]
Any assessment of A. E. Housman's present stature as a poet must begin with the well-known but curious fact that his poetry, while it has become widely read and even highly regarded in some circles, has failed to give rise to a significant body of criticism. In an age of close reading and analysis, no systematic study of Housman's poetry has been attempted. The commentaries which have been produced are given, on the whole, to discussions of Housman's pessimism or to probings of the personality which seems to lie beneath the surface of his poems. The last decade has witnessed some fragmentary efforts to re-examine his poetic contribution, but it remains essentially true that few critics have become involved with Housman's art. In 1945, Robert W. Stallman's critical bibliography revealed that of the 177 poems in The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman only 27 had been analyzed in whole or in part.1 In 1958, Norman Marlow, in a biography of Housman, found little change, stating that “there is still no comprehensive study of his poetry and very little balanced criticism of...
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SOURCE: Firchow, Peter E. “The Land of Lost Content: Housman's Shropshire.” Mosaic 13, no. 2 (winter 1980): 103-21.
[In the following essay, Firchow discusses the significance of Housman's representations of nature in the pastoral setting of A Shropshire Lad.]
“In 1920, when I was about seventeen,” George Orwell recalled in “Inside the Whale” (1940), “I probably knew the whole of the Shropshire Lad by heart. I wonder how much impression the Shropshire Lad makes at this moment on a boy of the same age and more or less the same cast of mind?” Very little, Orwell hastens to conclude, and goes on to puzzle out what it might have been that “appealed so deeply to a single generation, the generation born round about 1900.”1
His answer is twofold: first, it was the regional-pastoral air of A Shropshire Lad which was attractive to “the rentier-professional class” which ceased “once and for all to have any real relationship with the soil” (p. 227); and secondly it was Housman's strain of querulous cynicism “which exactly fitted the prevailing mood of the young” who had managed to survive the physical and spiritual holocaust of World War I (p. 230). Orwell's observations, I think, ring true, though perhaps not quite true enough: one still wonders why the bourgeoisie and the young should have been drawn to Housman rather than, say,...
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SOURCE: Dow, Eddy. “Self-Validation in Housman's A Shropshire Lad LXII (‘Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff’).” Victorian Newsletter (fall 1982): 30-31.
[In the following essay, Dow discusses the style and thematic significance “Terence” (poem LXII) in A Shropshire Lad.]
The first speaker in this poem [A Shropshire Lad] begins his criticism of his friend Terence's poetry with these words:
“Terence, this is stupid stuff: You eat your victuals fast enough; There can't be much amiss, 'tis clear, To see the rate you drink your beer.”
Thirty-eight lines later, Terence defends his work in this way:
'Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
But take it: if the smack is sour, The better for the embittered hour; It should do good to heart and head When your soul is in my soul's stead;
Though “Terence” is among the most discussed of Housman's poems, the flat contradiction between Terence's unnamed friend's “There can't be much amiss” and his own “When your soul is in my soul's stead” has never, as nearly as I can tell, been noticed in print. Much less has it been explained how a drinking companion close enough to Terence to attack his poetry head-on without giving offence could be this...
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SOURCE: Rosebury, Brian. “The Three Disciplines of A. E. Housman's Poetry.” Victorian Poetry 21, no. 3 (autumn 1983): 217-28.
[In the following essay, Rosebury describes Housman as a poet of “heartfelt emotion” whose poetry is best when his craftsmanship is suited to its expression. He observes that Housman's poetry is most successful when he avoids argumentation or metaphysical content and instead maintains a consistently serious tone, with visual imagery suited to the mood of the poem.]
The last five years have seen the publication of two important books about A. E. Housman: a thorough and sympathetic biography by Richard Perceval Graves1 and a resourceful defense of the poet's “theory and practice” by B. J. Leggett.2 It is too early to predict whether Housman's reputation and claim on academic attention will grow, as Hardy's and to a lesser extent Kipling's have done in recent years. As Leggett observes in his Introduction, individual critics of distinction—Empson, Brooks, Ricks—have written, often appreciatively, of Housman, but there has never been much of a Housman industry: “A doctoral student who announced to his professor that a note on a Housman poem had been accepted for publication was taken aback by the rejoinder that Housman was not the kind of poet about whom one published critical articles” (p. 4). The reasons for this neglect are various, and...
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SOURCE: Martin, Robert K. “A. E. Housman's Two Strategies: A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems.” Victorian Newsletter no. 66 (fall 1984): 14-17.
[In the following essay, Martin observes that Housman employs two different strategies in his poetry for “responding to the situation of the homosexual through the means of his art”; he maintains that Housman expresses a “strategy of survival” in his earlier poetry, and a “strategy of revolt” in his later poetry.]
This essay addresses itself to what I have called Housman's two “strategies”—two ways of responding to the situation of the homosexual through the means of his art. I identify one of these strategies with each of his volumes of poetry. The first, which I call the “strategy of survival,” is the strategy of A Shropshire Lad; the second, which I call the “strategy of revolt,” is the strategy of Last Poems. Although much Housman criticism treats his work as a single body, frequently even lumping all the poems into the modes of A Shropshire Lad, the two volumes represent very different strategies and forms of presentation of self.
Asked about his use of place, A. E. Housman replied drily, “My Shropshire, like the Cambridge of Lycidas, is not exactly a real place.”1 The remark is suggestive in several ways. It serves to remind us of A...
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SOURCE: Gorecki, John E. “An Echo of Herrick in Housman's A Shropshire Lad LXII.” American Notes and Queries 23, nos. 9-10 (May-June 1985): 142-43.
[In the following essay, Gorecki points out that in the poem “Terence” in A Shropshire Lad, Housman makes reference to the poetry of Robert Herrick.]
A. E. Housman's open reference to Milton in A Shropshire Lad LXII, “Terence, this is stupid stuff,” contains an unnoticed echo of “His farewell to Sack” by Robert Herrick. In reply to one critical of his verse, Housman's Terence says that if he wants to feel happy he should take up drinking and that opportunities for it are close at hand:
Oh many a peer of England brews Livelier liquor than the Muse, And malt does more than Milton can To justify God's way to man.
Herrick's persona, praising the virtues of sack, says in apostrophe to it:
'Tis thou, alone, who with thy Mistick Fan, Work'st more then Wisdome, Art, or Nature can, To rouze the sacred madnesse; and awake The frost-bound-blood, and spirits …
The phrase “And malt does more than Milton can / To justify God's ways to man,” referring as it does to Paradise Lost I.26, is reminiscent in structure and diction of Herrick's “Work'st more then...
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SOURCE: Stevenson, John W. “The Durability of Housman's Poetry.” Sewanee Review 94, no. 4 (fall 1986): 613-19.
[In the following essay, Stevenson observes that, while considered a minor poet, Housman has enjoyed a broad readership and steady reputation. He attributes the enduring appeal to Housman's poetry to his creation of a character (the Shropshire lad) who speaks to the longings of modern man.]
Establishing hierarchies for writers can be a shifting game, little different from establishing the canon to study literature. If, for example, you cite Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, and Yeats as major writers, and then list Herrick, Marvell, Christina Rossetti, and A. E. Housman as minor poets, you would probably get little argument from those who determine such canonical categories. But once you have established such hierarchies, what can you say about their reception by the general reader—Dr. Johnson's common reader?
Whom does this general reader continue to read? I keep remembering the observation that Shakespeare is the most talked-about writer in the language and the least read. And long ago Lionel Trilling pointed out that if Wordsworth were not taught in the universities who would read him? Who would indeed? I do not pose these questions to be dismissive or flippant about names that are the very cornerstone of a nation's and a culture's literary heritage....
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SOURCE: Hoagwood, Terence Allan. “Classical Skepticism in the Poetry of A. E. Housman.” Housman Society Journal 14 (1988): 19-28.
[In the following essay, Hoagwood examines the influence of classical skepticism on the philosophical outlook of Housman's poetry.]
A. E. Housman's poems are so impressively anchored in the emotional and physical life, so colloquial in style and so evidently simple in subject, that a philosophical reading of these poems may at first glance seem paradoxical or impertinent. Beyond the evidence of the poems, Housman's remarks sometimes openly deprecate formal philosophy: ‘Plato's doctrine of Forms or Universals is useless as a way of explaining things—it is up to Science to show what is the reality of the world’.1 With apparent justice, John Wain observes that ‘philosophy was alien ground to him’.2 As Richard Perceval Graves has suggested, however, Housman was indeed able to understand philosophical problems; ‘the point was, that he despised them’.3 Housman's notorious failure at Oxford in his philosophical examinations accordingly expressed no ineptitude but rather his distaste for the intellectual systematizing of philosophy: ‘Housman did not take any interest in Greek philosophy’, observed Canon Nance, a lecturer in Housman's College (St John's); ‘his interests were in pure scholarship’.4 That Housman was...
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SOURCE: Coulthard, A. R. “The Flawed Craft of A. E. Housman.” Victorian Newsletter, no. 84 (fall 1993): 29-31.
[In the following essay, Coulthard asserts that while many critics have assessed Housman a superb craftsman, his poetry often demonstrates flawed craftsmanship. According to Coulthard, Housman's poetry is rife with awkward diction, odd syntax, lapses in taste, and clichés.]
Most textbooks acknowledge the limited tonal and thematic range of Housman's verse, a deficiency Housman defended in the prefatory piece to More Poems, published the year before his death:
They say my verse is sad: no wonder; Its narrow measure spans Tears of eternity, and sorrow, Not mine, but man's.
(The Collected Poems 155)
But once this narrowness is conceded, the typical anthologist then proceeds to praise Housman as a supreme craftsman. John Bowyer and John Brooks, for instance, call Housman's verse “perfect in form and feeling” (883). E. K. Brown and J. O. Bailey consider Housman “A perfect, if limited, technician” (704). Donald Gray and G. B. Tennyson say that Housman's poems are “rigorously controlled, transmuted by measure, rhyme, and a carefully chosen diction into an understated eloquence” (829), a judgment echoed by the editors of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, who applaud Housman's “control...
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SOURCE: Stevenson, John W. “The State of Letters: A Shropshire Lad Reappraised.” Sewanee Review 105, no. 2 (spring 1997): 244-50.
[In the following essay, Stevenson assesses the enduring popularity of A Shropshire Lad, despite its general neglect by scholars. He observes that the appeal of Housman's poetry lies in his strong sense of place, original main character, and use of traditional rhyme and meter.]
The year 1896, not unlike our own late 1990s, was a time of looking ahead to a new century, as it was a time of looking backward. What was the promise of the coming twentieth century, and what of the nineteenth would be preserved? In England's literary circles during the 1890s poets like Beardsley, Dowson, Lionel Johnson, and Arthur Symons enjoyed a brief attention preaching the gospel of art for art's sake, and rejecting the old for a more sensuous, decadent style, one they hoped would spearhead the poetic direction of the coming century. Waiting in the wings, Eliot and Pound would nurture a more elegant and allusive poetic they hoped would determine the direction of modern poetry.
During these same waning years, other more traditional voices insisted on being heard. In 1897 Thomas Hardy published his Wessex Poems in the more conventional mode, if in style and meaning often elliptical. The more popular journalist and essayist Hilaire Belloc had published his...
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SOURCE: Kurke, Alexander David. “Immortality for a Textual Critic.” Classical and Modern Literature 18, no. 3 (spring 1998): 189-202.
[In the following essay, Kurke offers an interpretation of poem LXIII of A Shropshire Lad, discussing the work in relation to Housman's career as a classics scholar.]
In recognition of Arthur Platt, his former colleague at University College, London, A. E. Housman observed:
A scholar who means to build himself a monument must spend much of his life in acquiring knowledge which for its own sake is not worth having and in reading books which do not in themselves deserve to be read.1
After Housman's own death, the imagery of monument-building was taken up by A. S. F. Gow, one of Housman's most astute biographers, and applied to Housman himself.2 For Gow, Housman's monument was his pre-eminent reputation as a classicist; the “last important stone” in the monument was Housman's publication of the fifth volume of his edition of the Latin poet Manilius.3
While scholars may differ concerning the most important of Housman's contributions to classical scholarship, it is certainly plain that his ability to produce emendations in classical texts holds a significant place. By 1892, Housman's reputation as a textual critic was secure, and had merited his...
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SOURCE: Lore, Janice. “Housman's ‘Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff …’” Explicator 56, no. 3 (spring 1998): 140-42.
[In the following essay, Lore argues that the Terence in Housman's poem “Terence” of A Shropshire Lad may be a reference to the Roman playwright of that name.]
According to Grant Richards, A. E. Housman's publisher, and Laurence Housman, his brother, A. E. originally intended to call his first volume of verse The Poems of Terence Hearsay. A. W. Pollard, Housman's friend and roommate at Oxford, is credited with talking him out of it and suggesting A Shropshire Lad (L. Housman 71; Richards 13-14). This is the one explanation given for Terence in the poem “Terence, This is Stupid Stuff. …” Arthur Waugh, the adviser for Kegan Paul, where Housman first had A Shropshire Lad published, wrote in his book One Man's Road:
The original manuscript bore the legend “By Terence Hearsay” which explains the fact that the final poem (sic) begins “Terence, this is stupid stuff”—a reference not easily intelligible when the pseudonym has vanished from the title page.
(qtd. in Richards 14)
Perhaps there is another explanation of who Terence might be. A quote in Pascal's Pensées1 states “Nae iste magno conatu magnas nugas dixerit”...
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SOURCE: Nettels, Elsa. “Youth and Age in the Old and New Worlds: Willa Cather and A. E. Housman.” In Cather Studies, Vol. 4, edited by Robert Thacker and Michael A. Peterman, pp. 284-93. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
[In the following essay, Nettels discusses the influence of Housman's poetry on the novels of Willa Cather.]
Of all Willa Cather's characters, Godfrey St. Peter, the protagonist of The Professor's House, draws most often on literary sources to express his feelings and perceptions. Embedded in his mind are passages from plays and poems and fictional characters and scenes from novels and short stories brought to the surface of consciousness at critical points in the novel. He quotes from Shakespeare's Othello and Antony and Cleopatra and Long-fellow's translation of a Norse poem. He refers to the knights of King Arthur, Medea, and Anatole France's Monsieur Bergeret. He recalls a scene from Henry James's novel The American and the ordeal of Poe's narrator in “The Pit and the Pendulum.”
In the third and final section of the novel, St. Peter's retrospection suggests yet another literary work that, although not named, may have contributed more to the meaning and feeling of The Professor's House than any other. Alone in his old house, after the family has gone to France for the summer, St. Peter broods on Tom...
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Bernario, Herbert W. “Housman's Career.” Housman Society Journal 13 (1987): 46-52.
Overview of Housman's career as a professor of Latin.
Kumin, Maxine. “Trochee Trimeter, and the MRI.” In Touchstones: American Poets on a Favorite Poem, edited by Robert Pack and Lay Parini, pp. 116-22. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1996.
Discusses the structure and style of Housman's stanzas in poem XXVII.
Schaar, Claes. “A. E. Housman and Posterity.” In Papers on Language and Literature, edited by Sven Bäckman and Göran Kjellmer, pp. 314-28. Göteborg, Sweden: ACTA Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 1985.
Overview of Housman's academic career and his enduring reputation as a Latin scholar.
Thompson, Dudley. “Reminiscences of E. A. H.” Housman Society Journal 13 (1987): 44-45.
Brief personal reminiscences about Housman by one of his relatives.
Mellers, Wilfred. “Blue Remembered Hills.” In Between Old Worlds and New: Occasional Writings on Music by Wilfred Mellers, edited by John Paynter, pp. 99-103. London: Signus, 1995.
A review of A. E. Housman: The Complete A Shropshire Lad in Poems and Song Settings (1995)—a set of compact disk...
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