Assess Charles Lamb As A Personal Essayist
While Coleridge and other scholarly boys were able to go on to Cambridge, Lamb left school at fourteen and was forced to find a more prosaic career.
For a short time he worked in the office of Joseph Paice, a London merchant, and then, for 23 weeks, until 8 February 1792, held a small post in the Examiner's Office of the South Sea House.
Lamb seemed to have escaped much of this brutality, in part because of his amiable personality and in part because Samuel Salt, his father's employer and Lamb's sponsor at the school, was one of the institute's governors.
Charles Lamb suffered from a stutter and this "inconquerable impediment" in his speech deprived him of Grecian status at Christ's Hospital, thus disqualifying him for a clerical career.
Despite the school's brutality, Lamb got along well there, due in part, perhaps, to the fact that his home was not far distant, thus enabling him, unlike many other boys, to return often to its safety.
Years later, in his essay "Christ's Hospital Five and Thirty Years Ago", Lamb described these events, speaking of himself in the third person as "L". at school; and can well recollect that he had some peculiar advantages, which I and other of his schoolfellows had not.
Lamb's older brother was too much his senior to be a youthful companion to the boy but his sister Mary, being born eleven years before him, was probably his closest playmate.
Lamb was also cared for by his paternal aunt Hetty, who seems to have had a particular fondness for him.
As he himself confessed in a letter, Charles spent six weeks in a mental facility during 1795: Coleridge, I know not what suffering scenes you have gone through at Bristol. The six weeks that finished last year and began this your very humble servant spent very agreeably in a mad house at Hoxton—I am got somewhat rational now, and don't bite any one.Although no epistolary record exists of the relationship between the two, Lamb seems to have spent years wooing her.The record of the love exists in several accounts of Lamb's writing.Its subsequent downfall in a pyramid scheme after Lamb left (the South Sea Bubble) would be contrasted to the company's prosperity in the first Elia essay.On 5 April 1792 he went to work in the Accountant's Office for the British East India Company, the death of his father's employer having ruined the family's fortunes.Charles would continue to work there for 25 years, until his retirement with pension (the "superannuation" he refers to in the title of one essay).In 1792 while tending to his grandmother, Mary Field, in Hertfordshire, Charles Lamb fell in love with a young woman named Ann Simmons.His friends lived in town, and were near at hand; and he had the privilege of going to see them, almost as often as he wished, through some invidious distinction, which was denied to us." Christ's Hospital was a typical English boarding school and many students later wrote of the terrible violence they suffered there. principal or headteacher) of the school from 1778 to 1799 was Reverend James Boyer, a man renowned for his unpredictable and capricious temper.In one famous story Boyer was said to have knocked one of Leigh Hunt's teeth out by throwing a copy of Homer at him from across the room.A picture of these visits can be glimpsed in the Elia essay Blakesmoor in H—shire.Why, every plank and panel of that house for me had magic in it.