|The Poetry of A. E. Housman
The Poetry of A. E. Housman
Housman was born in Burton-On-Trent, England, in 1865, just as the US Civil War was ending. As a young child, he was disturbed by the news of slaughter from the former British colonies, and was affected deeply. This turned him into a brooding, introverted teenager and a misanthropic, pessimistic adult. This outlook on life shows clearly in his poetry. Housman believed that people were generally evil, and that life conspired against mankind. This is evident not only in his poetry, but also in his short stories. For example, his story, "The Child of Lancashire," published in 1893 in The London Gazette, is about an child who travels to London, where his parents die, and he becomes a street urchin. There are veiled implications that the child is a homosexual (as was Housman, most probably), and he becomes mixed up with a gang of similar youths, attacking affluent pedestrians and stealing their watches and gold coins. Eventuall...