Norman web page offers us with an perception into Housman the poet, the student and the man.
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Extra resources for A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography
Another pupil wrote of him less guardedly that He was absolutely in love with the felicities of Latin and Greek. It thus came about that he drove us without seeming to do so. He did not appear to be saying, 'I insist on you learning'. Rather he created the feeling that Latin and Greek have to be treated in the living and intense way of which he was giving us an example. * Again, that 'living and intense' way was later to characterize Housman's own classical teaching. Alfred 'took no part in games or athletics', but he had a 'natural liking for book-learning', * did well academically, and won a prize for English verse.
Writing with post-Freudian hindsight, Laurence is also interesting on his stepmother's attitude to bodily functions: she taught the children that it was wrong to be seen entering or leaving the we, and later, when one of Alfred's friends from Oxford (Alfred Pollard) stayed with them, she 'commented severely upon the fact that, she being somewhere about, he had not observed the proper secrecy of approach. "He ought to have waited," she said. '* Although Alfred's toilettraining was well behind him by this time, this ought not perhaps 26 A.
He was rather small and not physically assertive, and was bullied at first: our knowledge of the troubles at home makes it saddening to learn that the other boys nicknamed him Mouse and 'used to tread on him pretending they could not see him'. * In his quiet way, though, he showed determination and a strong ambition to excel in whatever he undertook willingly. In due season he was joined at the school by his brothers, and at one point, thanks to the system of foundation scholarships and their own brains, there were four Housman boys simultaneously obtaining a sound education at a minimal cost.
A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography by Norman