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Academic readers have been kinder to A. E. Housman's poetry in the second half of the twentieth century than in the first half. Critical respect for Housman has increased considerably since the Times Literary Supplement's fiftieth-anniversary assessment of A Shropshire Lad, which contains a handful of quotations used to exemplify broad themes such as "personal affection" or "external nature," and which not surprisingly concludes that the popular appeal of his poetry "is not derived from its intellectual or its moral content. Housman is not a philosophical or an imaginative poet: he displays no Wordsworthian insight into the deep springs of human sympathy, no Shakespearean understanding of the range and intensity of human passions." (1) Since then, new critical editions of the poetry and letters have come forth and the Housman Society has been formed. Many more articles have taken his work seriously, for example those cited in the collections edited by Christopher Ricks and Philip Gardner. (2) The debt of his poetry to his classical background has been more thoroughly explored; studies relating his work to larger contexts such as his gender-orientation and the historical conditions of late-Victorian society have broadened what had seemed to be the limited cultural scope of his few and simple poems. Not many critics, however, have found enough rhetorical and stylistic complexity in Housman's poems to justify extended close readings of them.