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The Manuscript Poems of A.E. Housman

The Manuscript Poems of A.E. Housman: Eight Hundred Lines of Hitherto Uncollected Verse from the Author’s Notebooks

edited by TOM BURNS HABER
Copyright Date: 1955
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 164
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttdr4
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  • Book Info
    The Manuscript Poems of A.E. Housman
    Book Description:

    Poetry lovers everywhere, and devotees of A. E. Housman in particular, will recognize a major literary event in the publication of this volume, for it makes available for the first time some 800 lines of hitherto unpublished poetry by the well-loved author of A Shropshire Lad. This is a significant addition to the Housman treasury because the English poet published a total of only 2216 lines of poetry during his lifetime. Dr. Haber has drawn the material for this volume from the four Housman notebooks in the Library of Congress, where they were deposited in 1940, four years after the poet’s death. In an introductory section the editor describes the notebooks themselves and tells in detail the fascinating story of how the manuscripts – erased, canceled and glued fast to mounting sheets – were preserved and deciphered. The notebooks, dated from 1890 to 1925, contain the most valuable manuscript remains of Housman’s poetic writings._x000B_In the material that is published here for the first time there are included complete poems, fragments of poems, and abandoned lines and stanzas from well-known lyrics. In addition the editor has provided a list of variants which the poet inserted into his printers’ copies of A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems. Among the newly published complete poems are some that Dr. Haber believes should be ranked with Housman’s outstanding work. In the material that shows the poet’s revisions of his own writings, the reader is afforded an intimate glimpse into the creative processes of a poetic genius, a privilege that will be especially appreciated by students and critics. Many explanatory notes are appended to show how Housman’s poetry matured from first draft, through final copy, to the printed page._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6275-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    T. B. H.
  3. Chronology of the Manuscripts
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. The Notebooks and the Library of Congress Manuscript Collection
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. PART ONE The Notebooks
    (pp. 3-30)

    The most valuable of A. E. Housman’s literary remains are the surviving portions of his notebooks, now in the Library of Congress, in which he composed and copied nearly all the poems published under his name. From these notebooks he selected the contents ofA Shropshire Lad, which appeared in February 1896, andLast Poems, published in mid-October of 1922.

    Nearly fourteen more years of reasonably active life remained to him after the second slim volume was issued, but in that period he composed only a handful of new poems and showed no inclination to produce a third book from...

  7. PART TWO Poems and Fragments
    (pp. 31-94)

    The verse contained in this section is printed to reproduce as closely as type allows the display and position of the lines as they appear on the manuscript pages. Alternative readings that were canceled are generally not given; all uncanceled alternatives, unless insignificant, are shown.

    The following signs have been used to mark omissions and doubtful readings in this section and in Part Three:

    [ ] indicates the location of a blank space in an unfinished line or stanza.

    [ ? ] indicates an illegible passage.

    The space between brackets approximates that in the manuscript. If there are reasonable grounds...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. PART THREE Abandoned Lines and Stanzas in the Notebooks and Foolscap Sheets
    (pp. 95-119)

    The early drafts of a large number of the pieces contained in Housman’sCollected Poemsinclude stanzas, couplets, and single lines that were replaced by alternatives or abandoned altogether. Some of these passages were evidently canceled immediately after they were written, and their substitutes set over them before the next lines were composed; others seem to have been thrown out in a line-by-line review of the poem, perhaps many years after it was first set down; and still others passed unscathed into second, third, or fourth drafts and were replaced only in a final notebook copy or in the copy...

  10. PART FOUR The Printer’s Copy of A Shropshire Lad
    (pp. 120-129)

    The printer’s copy ofA Shropshire Ladis in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. It was within this library that one of the earlier collections of Housman’s first volume was founded, a project of which he evidently approved, for on at least one occasion (2 May 1914) he asked his publisher for copies of all editions in stock to augment the library’s collection. It was fitting that when Housman was ready to dispose of the final manuscript ofA Shropshire Ladhe should present it to the library of his college. With it he sent this letter to curator:...

  11. PART FIVE The Printer’s Copy of Last Poems
    (pp. 130-138)

    Grant richards, recalling his first glimpse into the fifty-page manuscript ofLast Poems, exclaims with an enthusiasm touched with a gleam of omnipathy: “Yes, the greatest moment in my life as a publisher was when I opened the sheaf of manuscript that wasLast Poems. . . . I will go further and say that no publisher alive has had a greater thrill.”¹ This was on the evening of 20 June 1922. Richards’ secretary began making a typescript of the poems the following morning. The book itself was published almost exactly four months later, and on November 1 Housman presented...

  12. Index of Titles and First Lines
    (pp. 139-143)
  13. General Index
    (pp. 144-146)