Assess Charles Lamb As A Personal Essayist

Although no epistolary record exists of the relationship between the two, Lamb seems to have spent years wooing her.

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Charles Lamb (10 February 1775 – 27 December 1834) 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 (1764–1847). Lucas, his principal biographer, as "the most lovable figure in English literature".

Friends with such literary luminaries as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, William Wordsworth, and William Hazlitt, Lamb was at the centre of a major literary circle in England. Lamb was born in London, the son of Elizabeth Field and John Lamb.

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 Salt, who lived in the Inner Temple in the legal district of London.

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 Paice, a London merchant, and then, for 23 weeks, until 8 February 1792, held a small post in the Examiner's Office of the South Sea House.It was there in Crown Office Row that Charles Lamb was born and spent his youth.Lamb created a portrait of his father in his "Elia on the Old Benchers" under the name Lovel.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 1820s. His time with William Bird did not last long, however, because by October 1782 Lamb was enrolled in Christ's Hospital, a charity boarding school chartered by King Edward VI in 1553.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 Coleridge, with whom Charles developed a friendship that would last for their entire lives.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.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 1792 while tending to his grandmother, Mary Field, in Hertfordshire, Charles Lamb fell in love with a young woman named Ann Simmons.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 Widford, Hertfordshire.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.


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