He is as a friend, a loved friend, whom it seems almost sacrilegious to summarize in the compact sentences of a biographical dictionary Lamb was admired by many for his literary efforts but received little recognition during his lifetime. He went through periods of self-doubt and dismissal of all things literary when his work was not well-received publicly.
Email this page Charles Lamb achieved lasting fame as a writer during the yearswhen he captivated the discerning English reading public with his personal essays in the London Magazine, collected as Essays of Elia and The Last Essays of Elia Known for their charm, humor, and perception, and laced with idiosyncrasies, these essays appear to be modest in scope, but their soundings are deep, and their ripples extend to embrace much of human life—particularly the life of the imagination.
Lamb is increasingly becoming known, too, for his critical writings. Lamb as Critic gathers his criticism from all sources, including letters. A new edition of his entertaining letters is also underway.
While Lamb was an occasional journalist, a playwright of small successa writer for children, and a poet, it is his prose which has endured. He early realized that poetry was not his vocation; his best poetry was written in youth.
The son of John and Elizabeth Field Lamb, Charles Lamb, a Londoner who loved and celebrated that city, was born in the Temple, the abode of London lawyers, where his father was factotum for one of these, Samuel Salt.
Lamb left school early, on 23 November Because he had a severe stammer, he did not seek a university career, then intended to prepare young men for orders in the Church of England. In September he found work as a clerk at the South Sea House, but he left the following February, and in April he became a clerk at the East India Company, where he remained for thirty-three years, never feeling fitted for the work nor much interested in "business," but managing to survive, though without promotion.
Soon after leaving school, he was sent to Hertfordshire to his ill grandmother, housekeeper in a mansion seldom visited by its owners. Here he fell in love with Ann Simmons, subject of his earliest sonnets though his first to be published, in the 29 December issue of the Morning Chronicle, was a joint effort with Coleridge to the actress Sarah Siddons—evidence of his lifelong devotion to the London theater.
After the death of Samuel Salt in the Lambs were in straitened circumstances, mother and father both ill. The elder brother, John, was living independently and was not generous to his family.
On Charles after an unpaid apprenticeship and his elder sister, Mary, a dressmaker who had already shown signs of mental instability, fell the burden of providing for the family, and Mary took on the nursing as well. Mary, who was ten years older than Charles, had mothered him as a child, and their relationship was always a close one.
It has a Keatsian charm but little lasting distinction. The tragedy of 22 September —when Mary, exhausted and deranged from overwork, killed their mother with a carving knife—changed both their lives forever. She was judged temporarily insane, and Lamb at twenty-two took full legal responsibility for her for life, to avoid her permanent confinement in a madhouse.
Thereafter she was most often lucid, warm, understanding, and much admired by such friends as the essayist William Hazlitt. She also developed skills as a writer. But she was almost annually visited by the depressive illness which led to her confinement for weeks at a time in a private hospital in Hoxton.
Lamb too had been confined briefly at Hoxton for his mental state inbut there was no later recurrence. Both were known for their capacity for friendship and for their mid-life weekly gatherings of writers, lawyers, actors, and the odd but interesting "characters" for whom Lamb had a weakness.
For the moment Lamb "renounced" poetry altogether, but he soon took it up again and began work on a tragedy in Shakespearean blank verse, John Woodvilwhich has autobiographical elements. While there are a few fine lines and the writing in general is competent but unoriginal, plotting and character are weak:Lamb’s sweet and charming personality reflected in his essays is the secret of the popularity of Essays of Elia.
Humour in the essays of Lamb is the humour of life. It is most akin to pathos. Charles Lamb begins his essay Dream Children by describing to his young children Alice and John the tales of his childhood when he used to live. Read this article to know about Dream Children Charles Summary and Analysis by Charles Lamb, Dream Children: A Revery By .
English Discussion › Category: Literature › Charles Lamb as an essayist 0 Vote Up Vote Down John Sonam asked 3 weeks ago 1 Answers 0 Vote Up Vote Down Best Answer Admin Staff answered 3 weeks ago Lamb’s essays exhibit.
Charles Lamb (Also wrote under the pseudonym Elia) English essayist, critic, poet, dramatist, and novelist. The following entry presents criticism on Lamb from through Charles Lamb >The English author, critic, and minor poet Charles Lamb () is best >known for the essays he wrote under the name Elia.
He remains one of the >most loved and read of English essayists. Charles Lamb was born on Feb. 10, , in London. Charles Lamb achieved lasting fame as a writer during the years , when he captivated the discerning English reading public with his personal essays in the London Magazine, collected as Essays of Elia () and The Last Essays of Elia ().
Known for their charm, humor, and perception, and laced with idiosyncrasies, these essays appear to be modest in scope, but their soundings are.