Essays of Elia . . .

ESSAYS OF ELIA; By CHARLES LAMB. First Series, (No. XXII. of Wiley & Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading.)

  The name of Lamb is fame; we believe there was never a reader so dull as to deny his claims to admiration and to love. Indeed, in a world full of false shows, hypocrisy and cant, it is most refreshing to see the genuine and universal delight with which this playful nature, this mild, sincere force has been received. Men may not have strength and faith to act out their own natures, but they appreciate one who does. The starch of convention, the ice of prejudice, dissolve at the approach of this delightful humorist, whose atmosphere is so genial, so full of the play of bright colors, and soft showers of feeling too, yet whose every object is seen in exact outline and in true relations. Lamb, in whom the sweet and sour, the pardoning and discriminating elements were mingled in such happy union that the result was justness, mildness and poignancy, is the darling of the public, as he was the darling of his friends. He is one of the few whose private life is altogether charming, without needing any ideal light cant from the future and its results. And his private life is in his books; all is of a piece with Lamb; life is learnt in play. He is, we think, the very Lamb to quell the Lion. We rejoice to greet him anew in a guise that promises a wide distribution of his writings.*

“Essays of Elia . . .” New-York Daily Tribune, 10 September 1845, p. 1.