A.E. Housman was one of the best-loved poets of his day, and A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems is a collection of poems whose elegant simplicity of form belies their hidden complexities. This Penguin Classics edition is introduced by Nick Laird with revisions by Archie Burnett and an afterword by John Sparrow.
‘What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?’
In this collection, A. E. Housman’s poems, including’To an Athlete Dying Young’, ‘Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now’ and ‘When I Was One-and-Twenty’, conjure up a potent and idyllic rural world imbued with a poignant sense of loss and sadness. Their scope is wide – ranging from religious doubt and doomed love to intense nostalgia for the countryside and patriotic celebration of the life of the soldier – and they are made all the more memorable by their distinctive diction and perfectly modulated rhythm and sound. This volume brings together the works Housman published in his lifetime, A Shropshire Lad (1896) and Last Poems (1922), along with the posthumous selections More Poems and Additional Poems, and three translations of extracts from Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides that display his mastery of Classical literature.
This edition has been revised by Archie Burnett and includes updated notes on the text and indexes of first lines and titles. In his afterword, John Sparrow discusses Housman’s methods of writing and melancholic temperament.
Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) usually known as A.E. Housman, was an English poet and classical scholar, now best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad.
If you enjoyed A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems, you might like John Clare’s Selected Poems, also available in Penguin Classics.