Poetic Styles of Alfred E. Housman
Alfred Edward Housman, son of Edward and Sarah Jane Housman, was the eldest of 7 children and was born in Fockbury, England in 1859, just as the US Civil War was ending.
(Donald E. Stanford 214) As a young child, he was disturbed by the news of slaughter from the former British colonies, and was affected deeply. He was also affect by his mother's death when Housman was only twelve years old. (Donald E. Stanford 214) This turned him into a troubled teenager and a pessimistic adult. (Donald E. Stanford 214) This outlook on life is clearly shown in his poetry. He has pursued careers as a clerk at the patent office in London as well as a professor of Latin in two colleges. (Bryfanski, Carnek, Nebdelson 353) Housman died in 1936 at Cambridge but his ashes were brought to Shropshire and buried near the north door of St.
Laurence's Church in Ludlow. (Frances C. Locher 216)
Housman believed that people were generally evil, and that life plotted against mankind. This shows not only in his poetry, but also in his short stories. His mother's death was just the first of a series of problems that prevented Housman from living a happy and normal life. (Dennis Ponpard 237) Some of Housman's themes are shortness of youth and life, a disbelief in the existence of god, and that death is unavoidable. (Donald E. Stanford 224) He has published many works, his most popular being A Shropshire Lad. It was reprinted several times because of its popularity. (Donald E. Stanford 215) He was influenced by the songs of Shakespeare and the Bible. Housman thought poetry should be felt, rather than understood intellectually. Since he feels that poetry is a matter of emotion rather than reason,