In addition to the generous allowance of holidays above given the boys had every alternate Wednesday for a whole day; eleven days at Easter, four weeks in the summer, and fifteen days at Christmas.
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Lamb was the youngest child, with a sister 11 years older named Mary and an even older brother named John; there were four others who did not survive infancy. His father John Lamb was a lawyer's clerk and spent most of his professional life as the assistant to a barrister named Samuel Saltwho lived in the Inner Temple in the legal district of London.
Lamb created a portrait of his father in his Last essays of elia charles lamb on the Old Benchers" under the name Lovel. Lamb's older brother was too much his senior to be a youthful companion to the boy but his sister Mary, being born eleven years before him, was probably his closest playmate.
Lamb was also cared for by his paternal aunt Hetty, who seems to have had a particular fondness for him. A number of writings by both Charles and Mary suggest that the conflict between Aunt Hetty and her sister-in-law created a certain degree of tension in the Lamb household.
However, Charles speaks fondly of her and her presence in the house seems to have brought a great deal of comfort to him. Some of Lamb's fondest childhood memories were of time spent with Mrs Field, his maternal grandmother, who was for many years a servant to the Plummer family, who owned a large country house called Blakesware, near WidfordHertfordshire.
After the death of Mrs Plummer, Lamb's grandmother was in sole charge of the large home and, as Mr Plummer was often absent, Charles had free rein of the place during his visits.
A picture of these visits can be glimpsed in the Elia essay Blakesmoor in H—shire. Why, every plank and panel of that house for me had magic in it. The tapestried bed-rooms — tapestry so much better than painting — not adorning merely, but peopling the wainscots — at which childhood ever and anon would steal a look, shifting its coverlid replaced as quickly to exercise its tender courage in a momentary eye-encounter with those stern bright visages, staring reciprocally — all Ovid on the walls, in colours vivider than his descriptions.
It is believed that he suffered from smallpox during his early years, which forced him into a long period of convalescence. After this period of recovery Lamb began to take lessons from Mrs Reynolds, a woman who lived in the Temple and is believed to have been the former wife of a lawyer.
Mrs Reynolds must have been a sympathetic schoolmistress because Lamb maintained a relationship with her throughout his life and she is known to have attended dinner parties held by Mary and Charles in the s. A thorough record of Christ's Hospital is to be found in several essays by Lamb as well as The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt and the Biographia Literaria of Samuel Taylor Coleridgewith whom Charles developed a friendship that would last for their entire lives.
Despite the school's brutality, Lamb got along well there, due in part, perhaps, to the fact that his home was not far distant, thus enabling him, unlike many other boys, to return often to its safety.
His friends lived in town, and were near at hand; and he had the privilege of going to see them, almost as often as he wished, through some invidious distinction, which was denied to us. The upper master i. In one famous story Boyer was said to have knocked one of Leigh Hunt's teeth out by throwing a copy of Homer at him from across the room.
Lamb seemed to have escaped much of this brutality, in part because of his amiable personality and in part because Samuel Salt, his father's employer and Lamb's sponsor at the school, was one of the institute's governors.
Charles Lamb suffered from a stutter and this "inconquerable impediment" in his speech deprived him of Grecian status at Christ's Hospital, thus disqualifying him for a clerical career.
While Coleridge and other scholarly boys were able to go on to Cambridge, Lamb left school at fourteen and was forced to find a more prosaic career. For a short time he worked in the office of Joseph Paicea London merchant, and then, for 23 weeks, until 8 Februaryheld a small post in the Examiner's Office of the South Sea House.
Its subsequent downfall in a pyramid scheme after Lamb left the South Sea Bubble would be contrasted to the company's prosperity in the first Elia essay.
On 5 April he went to work in the Accountant's Office for the British East India Companythe death of his father's employer having ruined the family's fortunes.
Charles would continue to work there for 25 years, until his retirement with pension the "superannuation" he refers to in the title of one essay.
In while tending to his grandmother, Mary Field, in Hertfordshire, Charles Lamb fell in love with a young woman named Ann Simmons. Although no epistolary record exists of the relationship between the two, Lamb seems to have spent years wooing her. The record of the love exists in several accounts of Lamb's writing.
Miss Simmons also appears in several Elia essays under the name "Alice M". The essays "Dream Children", "New Year's Eve", and several others, speak of the many years that Lamb spent pursuing his love that ultimately failed.
Miss Simmons eventually went on to marry a silversmith and Lamb called the failure of the affair his "great disappointment". Family tragedy[ edit ] Both Charles and his sister Mary suffered a period of mental illness.
As he himself confessed in a letter, Charles spent six weeks in a mental facility during Coleridge, I know not what suffering scenes you have gone through at Bristol. My life has been somewhat diversified of late.
The six weeks that finished last year and began this your very humble servant spent very agreeably in a mad house at Hoxton—I am got somewhat rational now, and don't bite any one. But mad I was—and many a vagary my imagination played with me, enough to make a volume if all told.Charles Lamb's 'Essays of Elia' are a balm to the spirit and a delight to those who love words.
Surely everyone remembers Lamb and his tragic story from high school lit classes, but (perhaps as he intended) his essays transcend the reality of his life and speak to the modern reader/5(6). Charles Lamb (10 February – 27 December ) was an English essayist, poet, and antiquarian, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, co-authored with his sister, Mary Lamb (–).
This volume contains the work by which Charles Lamb is best known and upon which his fame will rest —Elia and The Last Essays of Elia.
Although one essay is as early as , and one is perhaps as late as , the book represents the period between . Charles Lamb 70 followers Charles Lamb was an English essayist with Welsh heritage, best known for his "Essays of Elia" and for the children's book "Tales from Shakespeare", which he produced along with his sister, Mary Lamb (–)/5(3).
LAMB, Charles. The Essays of Elia. WITH: The Last Essays of Elia. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, Two volumes. Octavo, 20th-century full navy straight-grain morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, burgundy morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.
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