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The Fleeting of Glory in To An Athlete Dying Young Essay

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As the oldest of seven brothers and sisters, Alfred Edward Housman was born in 1859 in Fockbury, England. On his twelfth birthday, his mother passed away, leading to the pessimism his poetry expresses. In 1877, Housman studied Greek and Roman Classics while attending St. John’s College in Oxford. There he fell in love with his roommate, Moses Jackson, who did not share the same feelings as him. In 1892, he became the Professor of Latin at University College in London and then in 1911 at Trinity College in Cambridge, which he held until his death in 1936. Throughout his life, he only published two works of poetry: A Shropshire Lad in 1896, in which the majority of his poems were written after the death of his friend, Adalbert Jackson, and Last Poems in 1922. In both of these volumes, he centers the poems on common themes like “fleeting youth, grief, and death” (A.E. Housman), which are seen in the poem “To an Athlete Dying Young.”
The title, “To an Athlete Dying Young,” is relevant to the poem and the central theme because the entire poem is about a young athlete who has just passed away. The poem provides the reader with a point of view that praises this athlete for dying at a young age. “To an Athlete Dying Young,” is considered to be a lyric poem because of its rhythm and is classified as an elegy, “A somber poem or song that praises or laments the dead” (Cummings 1). The title impacts the central theme of the poem because of the first word, “To.” The word “To” implies that the poem is a toast or a salute to those athletes who die young. Also, it creates a more personal bond between the speaker and the athlete. This is crucial because this title correlates with the theme. In the poem “To an Athlete Dying Young,” the speaker, ...


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...er reaching this glory.



Works Cited

"A. E. Housman Biography." Famous Poets and Poems. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. .
"A. E. Housman- Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More." Poets.org. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. .
"A. E. Housman." The Poetry Foundation. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. .
Cummings, Michael J. "Literary Terms." Free Study Guides for Shakespeare and Other Authors. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. .
Gardner, Janet E. "To An Athlete Dying Young." Literature: A Portable Anthology. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004. 542-43. Print.
Sullivan, Dick. "A. E. Housman: A Life in Brief." The Victorian Web: An Overview. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. .


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