A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography - download pdf or read online

By Norman

ISBN-10: 1349065498

ISBN-13: 9781349065493

ISBN-10: 134906551X

ISBN-13: 9781349065516

Norman web page presents us with an perception into Housman the poet, the student and the man.

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Additional info for A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography

Example text

It is only fair to say that she seems to have made a good job of the demanding role of stepmother, and Alfred's relationship with her was a happy one. Since the autumn before his mother's death he had been a pupil at Bromsgrove School. Before his second marriage Edward Housman had moved his family back to Fockbury - not to the old home where Alfred had been born, but to Fockbury House (also known as The Clock House), an attractive seventeenth-century building demolished in 1976. It lacked gas, running water and drainage but was a good place for children with its garden and orchard and ready access to lanes, fields, woods and streams.

A susceptible maiden lady gazed at them with awe-struck delight, and declared that she had 'never seen such a sight in all her born days'. '* A Worcestershire Lad 21 Edward Housman was clearly no tower of strength in a crisis, and during this period the strain on the older children, and especially on Alfred as eldest, must have been grievous. As their mother grew worse she became bed-ridden, and Alfred and Clemence spent a good deal of time with her, witnessing the unrecorded drama of her anguish at the thought of the young family she would leave behind.

Housman's case was quite different, however, and he obviously spent time with his friend that should have been spent on making good his deficiencies in ancient philosophy and history. He 'enjoyed idling'* with Jackson, recalled Pollard, who blamed the friendship for Housman's failure. This does not in itself, however, seem to explain the full extent of the disaster in the early summer of l88l. Over-confidence bred of contempt for the Oxford establishment may also have contributed: this at any rate was the explanation favoured by those, including Gow, who were disinclined to probe for more deeply personal causes.

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A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography by Norman


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