A Shropshire Lad (Penguin English Journeys)

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9780141190846: A Shropshire Lad (Penguin English Journeys)
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This magical and poignant evocation of coming of age in the countryside describes lovers in secluded lanes, cricket and church bells, cherry trees hung with snow and woods full of bluebells. Yet in A Shropshire Lad the fields and hills are also places of loss and sorrow, where men die young or are sent far away to fight in foreign wars. Aching with longing for a vanished world, these exquisite verses are a meditation on the fleeting nature of love, youth and happiness.

Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too.It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).

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Review:

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award Housman is a high-water mark of British lyric poetry, and this fine production captures perfectly his strong, melodic beat and decisive rhyme, and his wonderful way with words. Samuel West's cultivated Midlands accent may not be specifically Shropshire, but his voice and reading are true to Housman who was not, after all, some rough Shropshire lad himself, but an Oxford don. His 'Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now' and 'To an Athlete Dying Young' are beautifully rendered here. West, you feel, reads poetry as it should be read confidently, with ease and conviction, as if all the world spoke in meter and rhyme. --AudioFile

Published in 1896, Housman's theme of early death became particularly poignant during the Great War. His boy soldiers follow the bugle's call to where the 'dropping dead are thick', and where one suffering 'not an ill for mending' shoots himself. Housman's rural 'land of lost content' with its ancient history, larks and daffodils and its (usually thwarted) young loves of lads and lasses echoes in nostalgic listeners' hearts. Samuel Wests's brogue brings out the Shropshire Lad's touching simplicity, and Housman's haunting rhythms and rhymes. --The Oldie

Housman is a high-water mark of British lyric poetry, and this fine production captures perfectly his strong, melodic beat and decisive rhyme, and his wonderful way with words. Samuel West's cultivated Midlands accent may not be specifically Shropshire, but his voice and reading are true to Housman who was not, after all, some rough Shropshire lad himself but an Oxford don. His Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now and To an Athlete Dying Young are beautifully rendered here. West, you feel, reads poetry as it should be read confidently, with ease and conviction, as if all the world spoke in meter and rhyme. --AudioFile

From the Back Cover:

ENGLISH JOURNEYSNumber SevenA Shropshire Lad

This magical and poignant evocation of coming of age in the countryside describes lovers in secluded lanes, cricket and church bells, cherry trees hung with snow and woods full of bluebells. Yet in A Shropshire Lad the fields and hills are also places of loss and sorrow, where men die young or are sent far away to fight in foreign wars. Aching with longing for a vanished world, these exquisite verses are a meditation on the fleeting nature of love, youth and happiness.

A. E. Housman (1859-1936) was born in the English countryside and felt affection for it all his life. He worked as a clerk before becoming an esteemed Latin scholar, but it was the publication of this, his first book of poems, that would bring him lasting fame.

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