Lamb, Charles

Lamb, Charles (1775 - 1834)


Born February 10, 1775, in London and educated at Christ's Hospital, Charles Lamb was a minor poet (and friend of S. T. Coleridge), but also the earliest editor of Elizabethan drama, and the greatest essay-writer of his age. He first took a job at South Sea House and from 1792 to his retirement in 1825 at East India House. Without much of an inheritance, Charles lived with his sister Mary Lamb throughout his life. They were true collaborators and co-dependents, each subject to periods of mental illness, each nursing the other during these times. Mary Lamb, while insane, in 1796 had knifed to death their their mother. It was owing to Charles' love that she was de-institutionalized and allowed to go home. They earned their living by writing, co-authoring Tales from Shakespear (1807), The Adventures of Ulysses (1808), Mrs Leicester's School (1809), and Poetry for Children. Later he turned to journalism and published Essays of Elia, a first series (1823) and a second series (1833), the works for which he is justly remembered. He died December 27, 1834, from erysipelas. Mary survived until 1847.

  • Cecil, David, Lord. A Portrait of Charles Lamb (London: Constable, 1983). PR 4863 C43 Robarts Library
  • The Charles Lamb centenary number, December 1834-1934 containing 43 manuscript poems, etc., in Lamb's autograph ... also books by, and about, Charles Lamb and his circle (London: Sotheran booksellers, 1934). Pamph LE L.B S Robarts Library
  • Lamb, Charles. Elia, 1823 (Menston: Scolar Press, 1969). PR 4861 A1 1823A Robarts Library
  • --. Works (London: Ollier, 1818). 2 vols. B-10 7222 Fisher Rare Book Library
  • -- and Mary Lamb. Poems and Plays, ed. E. V. Lucas (London: Methuen, 1912). PR 4860 A2 1912 Trinity College Library
  • --. Poetry for Children, ed. William Macdonald (1903; Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1970). PR 4860 A25 1970 Robarts Library
  • The Letters of Charles and Mary Anne Lamb, ed. Edwin W. Marrs, Jr. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1975-). PR 4863 .A44 Trinity College Library
  • Thomson, J. C. Bibliography of the Writings of Charles and Mary Lamb: A Literary History (Hull: J.R. Tutin, 1908.). Z 8474 T55 Robarts Library
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
February 10, 1775
Death Date
December 27, 1834
Family Relations
father : John Lamb
mother : Elizabeth Lamb
brother : John Lamb
sister : Mary Ann Lamb
  • Clerk

Literary Period
Literary Movement
Cause of Death
First RPO Edition