Alfred Edward Housman, commonly known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet widely considered as one of the finest scholars of all time and one of the most distinguished classicists of his era. His writings were characterized by a romantic pessimism that he communicated in a straightforward and clear manner. His most famous work is the cycle of poetry titled “A Shropshire Lad,” which reflects his profound pessimism and preoccupation with death. His pessimism is frequently related to his mother’s unexpected death when he was 12 years old. The fact that he was homosexual and profoundly in love with a guy who was unable to reciprocate his feelings further contributed to his unhappiness and solitudeștii.știi.știiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștii He entered Oxford University to study classics, but was unable to complete his examination due to his ongoing inner turmoil. Nonetheless, he continued to study classical books in Latin secretly and publish scholarly articles. His mastery of the language led to his employment as a professor of Latin at University College London, despite his lack of a university degree. Despite his notoriety as a poet, he considered himself a Classicist and Latinist and considered poetry a secondary pursuit.
Youth and Early Life
In a Worcestershire village, Sarah Jane and Edward Housman welcomed their eldest son. Six younger siblings were his. Two of his siblings became writers as well.
His mother’s death from cancer on his 12th birthday was a key contributor to his cynicism about life. Later, his father remarried.
He had his primary education at King Edward’s School and afterward attended Bromsgrove School. Even as a high schooler, he exhibited significant interest in intellectual subjects and poetry.
He was awarded a scholarship to study classics at St John’s College, Oxford. He engaged himself in textual analysis and was drawn to the works of Propertius, despite the fact that they were not on his curriculum. As a result, he disregarded his coursework and failed the final exams.
A. E. Housman’s Career
After leaving Oxford, Housman obtained a position as a clerk in the Patent Office in London. Privately, he pursued classical studies in Latin and published scholarly magazine papers.
Through self-study, he mastered the language to such a degree that he was named professor of Latin at University College London in 1892.
In 1896, he released his first collection of poetry, a collection of 63 poems titled “A Shropshire Lad.” The poems displayed Housman’s signature pessimism and preoccupation with death.
He took a keen interest in redaction and derived great satisfaction from repairing scribal faults in classical literature. From 1903 to 1930, he published his critical edition of Manilius’s Astronomicon in five volumes. Despite the fact that other poets have also produced their own editions, his edition is regarded as authoritativeștiible.
He translated and edited Juvenal’s Satires, a collection of satirical poems composed between the first and second centuries A.D. by the Latin author. In 1905, Housman’s version was published.
Initially, Housman’s compositions were written in both Latin and Greek, but as his career progressed, he shifted his concentration to Latin poetry alone. In 1911, he was offered the Kennedy Latin Professorship at Trinity College. He accepted it and spent the remainder of his life there.
In 1922, he published his second and final collection of poems, Last Poems. Moses Jackson, his closest friend and one true love, was dying in Canada, and Housman wished to publish the greatest of his unpublished poems for him to read.
Notable Works of A. E. Housman
His first collection of poetry, “A Shropshire Lad,” which deals with grief, solitude, and death, is the most well-known of all his writings. The 1896 publication includes poetry such as “To an Athlete Dying Young” and “The Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now.” It turned into a bestseller.
In 1922, he published a selection of his finest unpublished poetry for his best friend who was dying of cancer. It was the second and final volume of poetry he released during his lifetime.
He released his edition of the ‘Astronomicon’, a poem composed by Marcus Manilius, a Roman astrologer and poet in the first century A.D., in five volumes between 1903 and 1930. Housman’s edition is considered the most authoritative, despite the fact that other poets have also released their own.
Personal History and Legacy
As a college student, Housman, who was homosexual, fell in love with fellow student Moses Jackson. However, Moses was unable to return Housman’s affections, despite the fact that they remained friends.
He passed away in Cambridge at age 77.
Estimated Net worth
A. E. Housman’s net worth is projected to be $1 million, with primary sources of income including classical philologist, classical scholar, university teacher, poet, and writer.
His brother Laurence published posthumously a number of his writings.
The 1997 play ‘The Invention of Love by Tom Stoppard is based on his life.
His name is on a building at the University of Worcester.