A. E. Housman
(1859-1936) belongs with the sexually tormented Victorian writers: the masochistic Swinburne; the impotent Carlyle and Ruskin; the repressed homosexuals: FitzGerald, Lear, Carroll, Pater, and Hopkins; and the unhappily married homosexuals: Symonds, Wilde, Barrie, and Maugham.
Ne'er mind his disclaimer, A. E. Housman
does qualify, in no insignificant part, as a poet of the nineties.
I raced into the school library, grabbed a copy of A. E. Housman
's collected poems off the shelf, checked it out, and scrambled back to my seat on the bus.
He never takes chances with it and it is doing very well thank you." Hemingway's example of "the perfect case of the minor poet," however, is A. E. Housman
: "He did it once and did it perfectly with the Shropshire Lad, but when he tried to do [it] again it wouldn't come off and the trick of mind all showed through and it imperiled the poems in the first book.
Your affectionate brother, A. E. Housman
' (I, 231).
But with the prospect of some future royalty on its way, I blew it (and more) on a book about A. E. Housman
. There was a connection between the two, though it took 15 minutes of musing at the railway station to tease it out.
Tom Burns Haber, A. E. Housman
(New York, 1967), 13.
Simon's side, a play whose central figure, the renowned classical scholar and poet A. E. Housman
, recalls on his deathbed the great personal drama of his Victorian youth, his unrequited love for a robust, athletic classmate, Moses Jackson.
A lot of unsuspecting theater-goers are going to think Tom Stoppard's "The Invention of Love" too English, including those Britons whose frames of reference don't immediately run to the Aesthetic era, A. E. Housman
, Horace's "Diffugere nives" and jokes about Ruskin's art criticism.