Confessions of a Prosaic Dreamer: Charles Lamb's Art of Autobiography

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Duke University Press, 1984 - 165 Seiten
More than Charles Lamb himself could ever know, the creation of Elia as his personal artistic voice was his way to endure the memories of September 22, 1796, a day of primal horror when his sister Mary in a fit of insanity killed their mother and destroyed the Lamb family. Throughout the rest of his life Lamb was faced with those memories , with deep-seated personal and career disillusionments. Yet through Elia he confronted his inner self to forge the essays that may be considered among the most brilliant and inimitable works in English letters.

Gerald Monsman in this study abandons the customary chronological approach to Lamb's life in favor of a more incisive, open-ended discussion of the Elia essays. By a close textual examination of Lamb's language, he relates the essayist's use of symbol and autobiographical concerns. Monsman contends and demonstrates that "as sharply and as pertinently as any artistic voice, Elia, the most celebrated persona in the nineteenth century, focuses the problems inherent in the modern literary imagination." Elia's "textual identity is a function of the author's actual life, of losses and imperfections artistically utilized and harmonized, employed against themselves to produce the rehabilitating symbol."

 

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Seite 7 - There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before; The evil is null, is naught, is silence implying sound; What was good, shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more; On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round.
Seite 104 - Lyrical Ballads, in which it was agreed that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic — yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief, for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.
Seite 132 - I became in doubt which of them stood there before me, or whose that bright hair was; and while I stood gazing both the children gradually grew fainter to my view, receding, and still receding till nothing at last but two mournful features were seen in the uttermost distance, which, without speech, strangely impressed upon me the effects of speech:' We are not of Alice, nor of thee, nor are we children at all. The children of Alice called Bartrum father. We are nothing; less than nothing, and dreams....
Seite 149 - Sun, and sky, and breeze, and solitary walks, and summer holidays, and the greenness of fields, and the delicious juices of meats and fishes, and society, and the cheerful glass, and candlelight and fire-side conversations, and innocent vanities, and jests, and irony itself- — do these things go out with life...
Seite 81 - See him in the dish, his second cradle, how meek he lieth ! — wouldst thou have had this innocent grow up to the grossness and indocility which too often accompany maturer swinehood ? Ten to one he would have proved a glutton, a sloven, an obstinate, disagreeable animal — wallowing in all manner of filthy conversation — from these sins he is happily snatched away — lt Ere sin could blight, or sorrow fade, Death came with timely care...
Seite 149 - I care not to be carried with the tide, that smoothly bears human life to eternity, and reluct at the inevitable course of destiny. I am in love with this green earth, the face of town and country, the unspeakable rural solitudes, and the sweet security of streets.
Seite 51 - Is lightened ; that serene and blessed mood In which the affections gently lead us on, Until the breath of this corporeal frame, And even the motion of our human blood Almost suspended, we are laid asleep In body, and become a living soul : While with an eye made quiet by the power Of harmony and the deep power of joy, We see into the life of things.
Seite 57 - And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle.
Seite 105 - Wordsworth, on the other hand, was to propose to himself as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us...
Seite 34 - I now have? — to those little, lawless, azure-tinctured grotesques that, under the notion of men and women, float about, uncircumscribed by any element, in that world before perspective — a china teacup.

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