Essays of Elia

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Laurence Sterne (1713—1768) writer and Church of England clergyman


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Miscellaneous essays by C. Lamb. The first series appeared in the London Magazine, 1820–23, and as a separate volume 1823. The Last Essays of Elia were published in 1833. Lamb adopted the name Elia, which was that of a former Italian clerk at the South Sea House, ostensibly to save the embarrassment of his brother John, who worked at that same place. The essays are not reliably autobiographical. The fanciful, old‐fashioned character of the narrator is, in Lamb's words, ‘a bundle of prejudices’ with a strong liking for the whimsical, the quaint, and the eccentric. The tone is never didactic or seriously philosophical, and all the more disturbing aspects of life are avoided. The style is very literary, filled with archaisms and with echoes of Lamb's master Sterne. Some of the best‐known essays were: ‘Some of the Old Benchers of the Inner Temple’; ‘Christ's Hospital’; ‘The South Sea House’; ‘Mrs Battle's Opinions on Whist’; ‘Dream Children’; and ‘A Dissertation on Roast Pig’.

Subjects: Literature.

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Charles Lamb (1775—1834) essayist