Essays of Elia (Sightline Books: the Iowa Series in Literary Nonfiction)

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9780877458517: Essays of Elia (Sightline Books: the Iowa Series in Literary Nonfiction)
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Charles Lamb, one of the most engaging personal essayists of all time, began publishing his unforgettable, entertaining Elia essays in the London Magazine in 1820; they were so immediately popular that a book-length collection was published in 1823. Inventing the persona of “Elia” allowed Lamb to be shockingly honest and to gain a playful distance for self-examination. The resulting essays touch upon a wide range of compelling subjects from the deliciously humorous “Dissertation upon Roast Pig” to the poignantly reflective “New Year's Eve.” Yet collectively they also comprise a fascinating personal memoir, veiled under the pseudonymous disguise of Elia. Now back in print with a new foreword by the distinguished personal essayist Phillip Lopate and with useful annotations, Essays of Elia will provide a delicious stylistic treat for all readers.

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About the Author:

Charles Lamb (1775-1834) worked as a clerk for the East India Company his entire life; literary fame came to him relatively late, after attempts in the Welds of drama and poetry. He is also known for Tales from Shakespeare, adaptations for children written in collaboration with his sister, Mary, and Specimens of English Dramatic Poets Contemporary with Shakespeare.

Review:

“. . . one of the classics of English prose and a cornerstone of the personal essay tradition. All personal essayists worth their salt owe a huge debt to this generous and generative collection. . . ; all apprentice essayists who would strive to make headway in the form will need to read it. . . . Essays of Elia is not only an essential text, but a near-buried treasure, an all-but-lost masterpiece in our contemporary culture.” — Phillip Lopate

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