Winter 1941 • Vol. Book ReviewsFebruary 10, 2024 |

The Whole of Housman: The Collected Poems of A.E. Housman

The Collected Poems of A.E. Housman. Holt. $3.00 The appearance of the Collected Poems provides an occasion for making some tentative generalizations on the total value of Housman and his work, though a note so brief as this can hardly pretend to go beyond suggestion. First, there is the matter of Housman's basic attitudes, his world view. Actually, I believe that the pessimism of Housman's poetry is pretty closely related to that of Bertrand Russell, his Cambridge contemporary—say, to that of the famous purple patch in Russell's "A Free Man's Worship": "Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way, etc., etc." Here are to be found all the elements of the Romantic despair which possesses Housman's young soldiers, shepherds, and athletes: the helplessness of man in an alien universe, the stoicism, the Spartan courage, the R

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Cleanth Brooks (October 16, 1906—May 10, 1994) was an American literary critic and professor, best known for his publications, The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947) and Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939). Brooks is said to have revolutionized the teaching of poetry in American higher education and was also a prominent critic of Southern literature as well as the co-founder of The Southern Review.

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