by Charles and Mary Lamb
Review: Being the perennial mover that I am, there are a number of favored books that fit into the ‘never to be packed’ category. This little gem is one of those. Written in 1807 by a brother and sister – who incidentally have their own troubled history – and still in print today, is a synopsis of sixteen of Shakespeare’s plays. This book comes out every time I’m going to a one of the featured productions or before I read the full play, see a film reproduction or even when I hear the slightest reference. It’s simply part of my prep work, and Shakespeare for me, is always a reward that deserves more of my attention and effort. While no substitute for the real thing it’s fabulous as a first reference.
Themes/topics: Shakespeare’s plays.
Book Blurb: Charles Lamb was born in London in 1775, and educated at Christ’s Hospital. He was employed in the South Sea House in 1789-92, and in the India House from 1792 to 1825. In 1796 his siter Mary, in a fit of insanity, fatally stabbed her mother, and Charles undertook her guardianship himself. He began his literary work in the same year, by contributing four sonnets to a volume of poems by Coleridge. The Tales of Shakespeare, written in collaboration with his sister, appeared in 1807, and the celebrated Essays of Elia began in the London Magazine in 1820. He latterly lived with his sister at Enfield, and died at Edmonton in 1834.