Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The ailments of the Lambs

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 20 January 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c301
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    In the days when children were taught to write essays they were given Charles Lamb to read. It was hoped, I suppose, that his Essays of Elia would impart, by a kind of literary osmosis, a grace, economy, and gentle irony to their prose. Some hope!

    Lamb was an amiable man who spent most of his life as a clerk at the East India Company. Although he stuttered, he was a wit. When his office superior accused him of arriving late for work he replied that, to make up for it, he left early.

    He lived all his life with his sister, Mary, with whom he wrote the famous Tales from Shakespeare. Their …

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