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.
“. . . 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