Charles Lamb
1. Some Romantic prose writers
2. Charles Lamb
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the Romantic prose writers
• William Hazlitt
• Thomas De Quincey
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William Hazlitt
a literary critic
two major works of criticism
Lectures on the English Poets
The English Comic Writers
Less didactic than his 18th-century
counterparts
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William Hazlitt
•
•
He had a passionate interest in
literature but was not above
allowing his radical political
convictions and personal bias to
color his criticism. What he
enjoyed, he wrote about with
enthusiasm and directness; what
he disliked, he condemned.
He states that the essays are
an attempt “to recollect all I have
ever observed or thought upon a
subject and to express it as nearly
as I can.”
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Thomas De Quincey
Confessions of an English Opium
Eater
a powerful and imaginative book
His subjects are taken from
personal experience, politics,
history, and literature.
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Thomas De Quincey
De Quincey advocated “impassioned
prose,” elaborate and musical. Attempting
to penetrate beneath the surface of
things, he advocated a style which would
extend the range of prose into the realm
of poetry. The display of great learning,
the sprinkling of classical allusions, the
seemingly illogical digressions can, at
times, make his writing ponderous and
weighty.
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Charles Lamb
He gives his own acute and wry
observations in graceful, flowing
sentences which meander with the
charm of fine conversation, the result
of
a
subtle
craftsmanship
characterized by urbanity and good
taste.
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Charles Lamb
nostalgic and wistful
in Dream Children
lively and humorous
in A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig
a gentle person, sympathetic to
mankind, but amused by the
contradiction and follies of people,
including himself
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•
•
•
Essays of Elia
Under the mask of Elia, Lamb indulges in the
most characteristic of Romantic tendencies —
personal memoirs, reminiscences of past life.
Time and again in the essays Lamb returns to the
world of childhood, weaving autobiographical details
and fanciful imaginings into a reality of its own.
He is more concerned with creating a mood and with
evoking a response. To do this he uses the rambling,
ornate style more typical of the seventeen century
than of his own age. His is a style not often imitated
well. However, his wry observations of London and
his cherished recollections of past days are models
for the personal essay.
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Charles Lamb
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Dream Children: a Reverie
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