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Word Count: 1,152
Shropshire A Place of Imagined Sexual Contentment Published in 1869 AE Housmans A Shropshire Lad stands as one of the most socially acclaimed collections of English poetry from the Victorian age This period in British history however proves by judiciary focus the Criminal Law Amendment of 1885 to be conflictive with Housmans own internal conflicts concerning the homoerotic tendencies which he discovered in his admiration of fellow Oxford student Moses Jackson Housman much unlike other English literary figures such as Oscar Wilde and Thomas hardy was not an artist who found it necessary to directly confront Britain with any political dissention imposed by is works Instead for Housman the discovery of self was so disturbing and disconcerting that poetry came as a way of disclosing it Bayley 44 The county of Shropshire is central to much of his poetry but it is employed merely as a personification of the writers memories dreams and affections meanwhile Housmans central character is one who could at once be himself and not himself Scott-Kilvert 26 In what Housman himself regarded to be one of his best poems XXVII Is my team ploughing the focus is placed upon a conversation between a dead man and one of his friends from his previous life Housman 18 XXII The street sounds to the soldiers tread meanwhile expresses an emotional wonder discovered in the eyes of a passing soldier Housman 15 Both the ambiguous quality of the dead mans last question 18 ll 25-26 in poem XXVII and the nature of the chance encounter in XXII stand to exemplify the subtle undercurrent of Housmans own enigmatic sexuality Is my team ploughing is in the form of the primitive ballad metres which Housman revived and primarily employed for a poetry not of action but of introspection Scott-Kilvert 25 The piece begins by the dead mans questioning of such trivialities as his team l 1 that he used to drive l 2 and football l
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