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Charles Lamb
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Author
    (February 10, 1775-December 27, 1834)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Wrote 'Essays of Elia' (1823)
    With his sister Mary wrote the children's book 'Tales from Shakespeare' (1808)
    His early attempt at writing plays failed, with one, a farce titled 'Mr. H,' going over so badly he joined the audience in hissing it because he was 'so damnably afraid' of being recognized as the author.
    He spent six weeks in an asylum after an unsuccessful love affair (1795).
    He described himself as 'drunken dog, ragged head, seldom shaved, odd eyed, [and] stuttering.'
    In 'a state of extreme nervous misery,' his sister Mary fatally stabbed their mother (September 22, 1796).
    He kept Mary from being locked away permanently by taking personal responsibility for her safekeeping. (Although she would spend periods in private asylums when she or Charles suspected her madness was coming on.)
    Critic William Hazlitt noted that at the literary salons hosted by the Lambs, Charles 'always made the best pun and the best remark.'
    His comment, 'Lawyers, I suppose, were children once,' was quoted in 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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