Charles Lamb

Joseph Riehl (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
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Sketch by Daniel Maclise, c.1830s. Courtesy The Walter Scott Digital Archive, Edinburgh University Library.

The creator of Elia, the original and anarchic persona best known for his more than fifty essays in The London Magazine, was born in 1775 in “the Temple” area of London on February 10. His essays have been described variously as “whimsical”, humorous, and deeply human, conveying important truths about the tragicomedy of human experience. He is often ranked with the greatest practitioners of the form such as Montaigne, Hazlitt and Borges, though some critics have felt that Lamb is too intimate, too eccentrically odd for their taste. His reputation was quite high during the Victorian period, but suffered eclipse with the rise of the systematic and prescriptive New Criticism.

1930 words

Citation: Riehl, Joseph. "Charles Lamb". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2005 [, accessed 05 March 2024.]

2596 Charles Lamb 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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