The English poet Charles Lamb (1775-1834) stimulates reactions that often lie outside the boundaries of literary criticism, reactions that are often motivated by ideological, cultural or political concerns. He poses particularly difficult, even unanswerable, questions that often provoke intemperate anger or great affection in readers. Historically, the first critical misunderstanding of Lamb is to see him as a radical; later he is canonized a domestic saint; in the 1930s he is a reactionary bourgeois. More recently, he is understood as a conscious artist; first, by New Critics as a transcendent optimist, then, in the post-structuralist version, as a tormented soul creating his artifice out of the limitations of human life. This study, a comprehensive history of reactions to Lamb, proposes that perhaps Lamb is a literary 'trickster' who delights in raising just those contradictions of modern life which those who attempt a systematic style of criticism would like to ignore.
Charles Lamb (1775-1834), essayist, poet, humorist, critic and letter-writer, has an enduring reputation for his early "Tales from Shakespeare" (1807), written in collaboration with his sister Mary, and his " Essays of Elia," first published in the "London Magazine." This thematic selection of Lamb's writings - essays, dramatic criticism, verse and letters - not only demonstrates his literary achievements; it forms a self-portrait of the writer: generous, amused, and gregarious, finding imaginative escape from grim circumstances in the teeming life of London and the theatre. The reader is drawn into the circle of Lamb's friends, enjoying the company of the most personal of English essayists. J.E. Morpurgo's introduction and notes set Lamb's writings in their contemporary context.
The author begins with an illuminating comparison of Barker with Edward Bond, revealing what he perceives as being their almost diametrically opposed concepts about the function of drama. Charles Lamb then looks at Barker against the world of deconstruction and postmodern thought, which leads to the author's unique Theory of Seduction, in which Barker's plays (in particular "Judith and the Castle) are considered from an angle derived from Baudrillard's ideas about seduction. Nine of Howard Barker's striking pen and wash drawings are reproduced in "The Shape of Darkness, including five in color.The key study of the British playwright Howard Barker arose from Charles Lamb's realization that current performance theories and production techniques are not appropriate to the plays of Howard Barker. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information.Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.