In his Essays of Elia and its sequel, Last Essays of Elia , Charles Lamb explores a broad range of topics and works with various non-fiction tropes that often edge into the terrain of fiction. We see him writing obituaries, dream journals, diatribes, and tributes. What unifies Lamb's essays is his lyrical, conversational writing style. Like many fellow Romantics, he often employs purple prose and shows off his sharp wit, but the essays themselves remain accessible and often fun. Elia is the persona Lamb uses when writing essays, so instead of referring to Lamb or "the narrator," these synopses will refer simply to "Elia.
New Year's Eve, by Charles Lamb
Charles Lamb - Wikipedia
Essays of Elia is a collection of essays written by Charles Lamb ; it was first published in book form in , with a second volume, Last Essays of Elia , issued in by the publisher Edward Moxon. The essays in the collection first began appearing in The London Magazine in and continued to Lamb's essays were very popular and were printed in many subsequent editions throughout the nineteenth century. The personal and conversational tone of the essays has charmed many readers; the essays "established Lamb in the title he now holds, that of the most delightful of English essayists. American editions of both the Essays and the Last Essays were published in Philadelphia in At the time, American publishers were unconstrained by copyright law ,  and often reprinted materials from English books and periodicals; so the American collection of the Last Essays preceded its British counterpart by five years.
Charles Lamb wore many hats as a writer, dedicating his early career to poetry and writing a well known adaptation of Shakespeare's plays for children entitled Tales from Shakespeare. But as an individual writer, Lamb is arguably best known for his contributions to the essay form. Lamb wrote his essays a little over years after the publication of Michel de Montaigne's Essays , which set the template for the essay as we know it today. As a Romantic, Lamb brought a key innovation to the somewhat new form, inserting his own personally to give the essays a conversational tone.
An accountant in India House in London for more than 30 years and caregiver for his sister Mary who, in a fit of mania, had stabbed their mother to death , Charles Lamb was one of the great masters of the English essay. The most intimate of the earlyth-century essayists, Lamb relied on stylistic artifice "whim-whams," as he referred to his antique diction and far-fetched comparisons and a contrived persona known as "Elia. Barnett has observed, "Lamb's egoism suggests more than Lamb's person: it awakens in the reader reflections of kindred feelings and affections" Charles Lamb: The Evolution of Elia , You may find it interesting to compare Lamb's essay with three others in our collection:.