HOUSMAN, Alfred Edward and Alison DUNWORTH (artist). A Shropshire Lad … Illustrated by Alison Dunworth with an Introduction by Norman Page. [?Leominster]: Leominster Press for The Chantry Press, 1991.

Octavo (198 x 135mm), pp. [4 (half-title, verso blank, title, colophon)], [7 (‘Introduction’)], [78], [1 (blank)]. Illustrations in the text after Dunworth, some full-page, apparently missing that to XLIV, presumably due to printing error. (A few light spots and marks.) Original plain wrappers, stapled as issued, dustwrapper reproducing a historic map of Shropshire. (Dustwrapper slightly rubbed and chipped at edges.) A very good copy.

First edition illustrated by Dunworth, trade issue. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad was first published in 1896, and ‘[t]hough not an instant success, the little volume gradually won a large audience through the universality of its dominant themes (nature, love, war, and death) and the directness of its language and rhythms. In a period of war, uneasy peace, and rapid social change, Housman was one of the most familiar and most highly regarded of the poets of his time. His celebration of landscapes and a rural life distinctively and traditionally English contributed to his poetry’s appeal’ (ODNB). The first illustrated edition of A Shropshire Lad was published in 1908 with illustrations by William Hyde and a number of illustrated editions have appeared since then.

This edition was illustrated by Alison Dunworth and has an introduction by Norman Page, Emeritus Professor at the University of Nottingham and author of numerous works on 19th- and 20th-century English literature, including A.E. Housman: A Critical Biography (New York, 1983). Apart from the present trade issue, this edition also appeared in a limited issue of 50 specially-bound copies.


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