Lamb, Charles


Lamb, Charles

biographical name

(born Feb. 10, 1775, London, Eng.—died Dec. 27, 1834, Edmonton, Middlesex) English essayist and critic. Lamb was employed as a clerk at East India House (headquarters for the East India Company) from 1792 to 1825. From 1796 he was guardian of his sister, the writer Mary Lamb (1764–1847), who, in a fit of madness (which proved recurrent), had killed their mother. He is best known for the often autobiographical essays he wrote under the pseudonym Elia for London Magazine, collected in Essays of Elia (1823) and The Last Essays of Elia (1833). Among the greatest of English letter writers, he included some of his most perceptive literary criticism, often in the form of marginalia, in letters. He collaborated with Mary on Tales from Shakespear (1807), a highly popular retelling of the plays for children.

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