Reader's Encyclopedia

Lamb, Charles (pen name Elia, 1775 - 1834)

English essayist of the romantic period, a schoolmate of Coleridge, and friend of other figures of English romanticism. Lamb attempted work in the fields of drama and poetry, but was most successful in the personal essay. His writings in this form are known for their humor, whimsy, and faint overtones of pathos. He was also a perceptive critic with a special sympathy for the work of Elizabethan and early 17th - century writers; a sympathy that is reflected in his own vivacious, idiosyncratic style.

His essays are contained in the two series entitled Essays of Elia, which appeared in the London Magazine from 1820 to 1823 and from 1824 to 1825, being collected and published in 1823 and 1833, respectively. Outstanding single essays are: A Dissertation on Roast Pig; "A Chapter on Ears" ; "Mrs. Battle's Opinions on Whist" ; Dream Children, and " The Supernatural Man. " His most famous other works are Tales from Shakespeare (1807), adaptations for children written in collaboration with his sister, Mary Lamb, and Specimens of English Dramatic Poets Contemporary with Shakespeare (1808), his best - known critical work. Because he was most comfortable with short forms and took great pleasure in communicating with his friends, some of his best writing is in his letters, particularly those to Coleridge, which contain sharp, discriminating criticism of the work the poet had sent to him. An 1848 collection of letters was re - edited by E. V. Lucas (3 vols) in 1905. The Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb (2 vols, edited E. W. Marrs) appeared in 1975 - 76.

Though he was much loved for his sweetness and humor, Lamb's life was marked by frustration and tragedy. A stammer kept him from qualifying for a university position, so he went to work as a clerk for the East India Company, where he remained until 1825. There was a strain of insanity in the family, and Mary Lamb, in a fit of madness, killed their mother. Lamb, who had himself spent time in a madhouse and who suffered from alcoholism, took lifelong care of his sister.

0111011000100101001010011010010011101011010011011110101100000000011110010000101110001110001010011000111000011111101101101111111000
0110010101001011110010011110110011101100111111111001000100010000000010011000101101111001000100101010101101100011010101000111100111
1111100101011010101000010000100011010011010110100111011110011011111001101011000010100010111111011100001001010010101011011101010011
1000011111010100010011110001111010101110110000000010100110001011000101100010100110111001111101011101110000101111000001101101000000
0011000100101101111000001010011101001110010100010011100011111010110101100100111001111100000111011001011001001101101111011001000001
0101110010011100011000100010110111110000111101011000101101110000001110101001101010111100010101111000001000010101100010110001011111
1100110010100010001100110111011101110101111101010001001100100011111111000100100001101011000101000110100011011101100000000101011001
0110011110100111010100011001001011001111100101100111101000010000111000110110000010100000001011000110001110100110011010111010001001
1000100001100001011011100000010001111100100001011110100000111010000111001010010000100000000100110010011000010111011010001011010010
0100101000000010100011110000111011101110111010100111110111001111011101101001110110111111110111001000100110100111000110101000001111
0101010011010001001101001111001101010000001001111001111100000111101011100110011111110111110101101000001001001100100101101001100110
0011111100111011100100011101001100110011100011101001010111001001101110010111110010100101000101010110011110000001010011100111001010
0110100111100000110100101101110101010110100101011000011101111110110101010011101110000110101101110110000011010000110101011111111110
0111001010100010011110000011111001010011001110011000110110101111001100010010101100111111000000111100011001100010011110100000000110