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By 1820 he had developed what was to be his "Elia" prose style.He was the first intensely personal, truly Romantic essayist, never rivaled in popularity by his friends Leigh Hunt and William Hazlitt.It was published in the December 1828 issue of ——(in prose), was roundly hissed in London when it opened on 10 December 1806, but it was successfully produced in the United States thereafter.
Watts, another of Lamb's contemporaries, wrote a jingle on Lamb that includes these lines: "For what if thy Muse will be sometimes perverse, / And present us with prose when she means to give verse? Barnett, and William Kean Seymour, however, find in much of it charm, honesty, strength of feeling, and originality.
" He noted that Lamb's is often admirably poetic, so that "we miss not the rhyme." In the twentieth century A. Ward has effectively demonstrated that Lamb's poetry lacks both the inspiration and discipline of his prose, concluding that in his poetry "his intensity of emotion is never once matched with an intensely personal manner of expression: he does not find the one perfect mould, and hardly ever lights upon the miraculous right word...." (For "never once" one should substitute "rarely.") E. "His poetry," Seymour concludes, "makes a pendant to his Essays, and it is a lustrous and significant pendant." The roles of artist and critic, of course, demand very different abilities: Lamb was, in correspondence, an able critic of the poetry of Coleridge and Wordsworth, who sometimes took his advice.
Here he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a fellow pupil who was Lamb's close friend for the rest of their lives and who helped stir his growing interest in poetry. (Because he had a severe stammer, he did not seek a university career, then intended to prepare young men for orders in the Church of England.) In September 1791 he found work as a clerk at the South Sea House, but he left the following February, and in April he became a clerk at the East India Company, where he remained for thirty-three years, never feeling fitted for the work nor much interested in "business," but managing to survive, though without promotion.
Soon after leaving school, he was sent to Hertfordshire to his ill grandmother, housekeeper in a mansion seldom visited by its owners.
While Lamb was an occasional journalist, a playwright (of small success), a writer for children, and a poet, it is his prose which has endured.
Literary Criticism Essays Of Elia Christmas Traditions Essay
He early realized that poetry was not his vocation; his best poetry was written in youth.On Charles (after an unpaid apprenticeship) and his elder sister, Mary, a dressmaker who had already shown signs of mental instability, fell the burden of providing for the family, and Mary took on the nursing as well.Two of Lamb's early sonnets are addressed to her: Mary, who was ten years older than Charles, had mothered him as a child, and their relationship was always a close one.After the death of Samuel Salt in 1792 the Lambs were in straitened circumstances, mother and father both ill.The elder brother, John, was living independently and was not generous to his family.Many of Lamb's essays before those he signed Elia came out in Hunt's publications." For students of Lamb and for his recent biographers, Lamb's poetry is mainly of interest as autobiography and as light on the essays, often treating the same subjects.The great French critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve admired Lamb's early sonnet "Innocence" so much that he translated it, but most critics then and now agree with Leigh Hunt that Lamb "wanted sufficient heat and music to render his poetry as good as his prose." Alaric A."; "Methinks how dainty sweet it were, reclin'd"; "When last I roved these winding wood-walks green"; "A timid grace sits trembling in her eye." All were written after the love affair had ended, to Lamb's regret.His early novel, (1798), is also rooted in the Ann episode.(1980) gathers his criticism from all sources, including letters.A new edition of his entertaining letters is also underway.