Alfred Edward Housman

Alfred Edward Housman

English poet
Date of Birth: 26.03.1859
Country: Great Britain

  1. Alfred Edward Housman: English Poet and Scholar
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Career and Literary Achievements
  4. Legacy and Death

Alfred Edward Housman: English Poet and Scholar

Alfred Edward Housman was an English poet and specialist in classical philology. He was born in Valley House, Fockbury, Worcestershire, and was the eldest of seven children. When Housman was 12 years old, his mother passed away, and his father remarried shortly after. Housman's family had a strong literary influence, as his brother Laurence and sister Clemence also became writers.

Alfred Edward Housman

Early Life and Education

During his time at King Edward's School in Birmingham, Housman showed great talent as a student, winning several awards for his poetic works. In 1877, he received a scholarship to study at St John's College, Oxford. Despite his passion for classical philology, Housman was unable to obtain a degree, partly due to his lack of interest in ancient history and philosophy. Some biographers speculate that his failure was also connected to a rejection from his close friend Moses Jackson, with whom Housman developed romantic feelings. Nevertheless, Housman managed to overcome this setback and became determined to showcase his genius to the world.

Alfred Edward Housman

Career and Literary Achievements

After leaving Oxford, Housman found employment as a clerk in a patent office, a position also held by Jackson. For a period of time, Housman and Jackson lived with Jackson's brother Adalbert before Housman finally acquired his own residence in 1885. In 1887, Jackson left for India, returning to England in 1889 to get married without informing Housman.

Housman continued to study classical literature and language outside of academic institutions, publishing his own works on the works of Horace, Propertius, Ovid, Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles. By 1892, Housman had established a respectable reputation, and he was invited to teach Latin at University College London. However, he is most well-known for his collection of poems titled "A Shropshire Lad." Written mostly before 1900, these lyrical and epigrammatic poems reflect on the melancholy fates of rural English youth. Housman's precise language and vivid imagery made these poems highly regarded. He primarily worked in the Victorian and Edwardian styles, often incorporating references to early English composers. Housman's poems have become iconic symbols of this era and the Shropshire region.

Legacy and Death

Housman passed away in 1936 in Cambridge at the age of 77. His ashes were interred near St Laurence's Church in Ludlow, Shropshire. In honor of Housman's contributions, the University of Worcester named one of their new buildings after him.