Samuel Laman Blanchard

(1803—1845) author and journalist

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Commonly known as Laman Blanchard and a member of the young Dickens's literary circle. Born at Great Yarmouth and educated at St Olave's School in Southwark. On leaving school he became a clerk at Doctor's Commons and began to publish dramatic sketches in The Drama. In 1822 he formed a close and enduring friendship with Douglas Jerrold and with him resolved first to fight alongside Byron in Greece and then to embark on a theatrical career. The former scheme was rapidly abandoned; the latter proved a financial disaster. He subsequently worked for the Monthly Magazine, to which he had already begun to contribute verse and prose. He married in 1823 and in 1828 his volume of poetry, Lyric Offerings was published by W. Harrison Ainsworth. He then worked for a succession of liberal journals and newspapers, becoming editor of the short-lived Constitutional in 1836. From 1841 to 1845 he was closely associated with John Forster's Examiner and he served as sub-editor of Ainsworth's Magazine1842–3. In December 1844 he was present in Forster's rooms at Dickens's reading of TheChimes (he appears in Maclise's sketch of the occasion). Following his wife's death he became acutely depressed and committed suicide at his home in Lambeth in February 1845. Blanchard's literary friends, including Dickens, Jerrold, Ainsworth, Thackeray, Bulwer-Lytton, and Cruikshank actively raised funds for the benefit of his orphaned children. Blanchard was the godfather, and subsequently father-in-law, to Jerrold's son, William Blanchard Jerrold.

From Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century).

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