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Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love the poems, wish I bought a better edition, 19 Aug. 2011
This review is from: A Shropshire Lad (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
This is a review of the Dover Thrift edition. I have given this edition 3 stars because, although I love the poems, I wish I had bought a better edition with a proper introduction and good quality binding.
On the poems:
You will either love them or hate them; personally I love tham but I can see why others wouldn't. Housman was a brilliant classical scholar, but for his "concept album" of verse, he chose the swinging rythyms and simple rhymes of folk songs and ballads, using them with a deceptive skill to create an extraordinary mood, elegaic, nostalgic and ferociously romantic. Despite his attempt to create an appearance of naive innocence, this book is the product of an exceptionally sophisticated mind.

Housman suffered a lifelong tragedy of unrequited love for his room-mate at college; and in his tales of suntanned country lads coming to bad ends we can see the doom-laden view of love, life and the world which the social circumstances of his time forced him into - also that there is a level of false consciousness here which we see later in E. M. Forster.
Many poets of the time reverted, after the elaborations of Victorian language, to a deliberate folky simplification. To modern ears this is both seductive and, at another level, slightly silly. No doubt at the time it was fresh and daring. It means Housman's couplets stick in the mind, and are often quoted. What the poet didn't know when he wrote that the real tradegy and doom of the First World War hung over his golden lads, just a few years in the future.

On the Dover Thrift edition:
This is a budget edition and it really shows. Cheap fuzzy paper, not especially clear print; no editorial notes. If you love the poems look for one of the very nice vintage editions. Students will want something with some notes.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Aug 2011 11:40:00 BDT
It's quite ironic that you state, "You will either love this or hate it", and then give the product 3 stars.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Aug 2011 13:42:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Dec 2011 11:16:40 GMT
Peasant says:
Well, if something is unmitigatedly good, it deserves 5 stars. If it's unmitigatedly bad, it deserves 1. Here, I think the poems are very fine - as I hope my review makes clear - but I accept others won't like them. However, the main reason I gave this 3 stars is that the Dover Thrift edition is so aesthetically nasty. I have edited the review now to make this clear. Hope that clarifies :-{I

Posted on 20 Aug 2011 13:52:32 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Aug 2011 14:11:44 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Aug 2011 14:03:45 BDT
I certainly did not give the review a neg. That would be petty indeed in the circumstances. My comment was just off the cuff and not a reflection on the review, which seems a fair one, though I don't know the work. I see my comment has already been voted on 5 times in a couple of hours, so there's definitely something funny going on here.

Posted on 20 Aug 2011 14:14:49 BDT
Peasant says:
Yes, I can see you wouldn't. I just quickly browsed your reviews and they are high quality, well-written and intelligent (must look more later). I don't usually review literature but here I was annoyed I'd been a cheapskate and saw no-one else had mentioned anything about this edition. As for the other, I suspect possible troll activity, it's not too much of a surprise.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Aug 2011 16:55:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Aug 2011 16:56:03 BDT
Those damn Trolls, the bane of 'Lady Fancifull's' life you know. I can understand your chagrin at receiving a dismally produced item. It may only be an aberration but, having suffered the same problem from the same source, I do think twice now when purchasing. Once bitten as they say, Give a dog a bad name, is there a device for ridding keyboards of cliches?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Aug 2011 11:32:24 BDT
Peasant says:
If you mean Dover Thrift publishers - you need to be open minded. I have had some really excellent books from them; they do a series reprinting woodcuts and engravings, including 1800 Woodcuts by Thomas Bewick and His School (Dover Pictorial Archive Series) which is a must for lovers of this chap's work. But there are many lovely old copies of A Shropshire Lad available (I gave a relative a 1920s calf-bound copy copy which I also paid £2 for in a bookshop) so I felt a fool.
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Peasant
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Deepest England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 189