Housman was an English lyric poet, chiefly known for one slim volume of 63 poems,

A Shropshire Lad

(1896), to which only one sequel,

Last Poems

(1922), was added in his lifetime. His lyrics, usually in the simplest quatrain forms, express stoically pessimistic moods of melancholic nostalgia with remarkable force and with a deceptive appearance of simplicity. His most important English successor, Philip Larkin, characterised him as “the poet of unhappiness” (Larkin, 264). He was strictly an amateur poet in refusing royalties for his volumes of verse, preferring to keep their prices down to ensure the wider readership that he eventually secured. As Housman explained, his true “trade” was not poetry but classical scholarship, in which – after humiliating failure as an Oxford…

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Citation: Baldick, Chris. "A. E. Housman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 August 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2222, accessed 19 April 2024.]

2222 A. E. Housman 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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