The Unlikely Friendship of Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Romantic period, an intellectual revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was an era of literary greats – heroic individualists and artists whose pioneering examples would elevate society and legitimize the individual imagination as a critical authority, freeing us from classical notions of form. It was also an era of great literary friendships: Byron and Shelley, Pope and Swift, Mill and Carlyle – Coleridge and Lamb, to name a few.
Humble Men in Company is an intimate portrait of the lives and works of Coleridge and Lamb, influential Romantic-era writers portrayed through their many years of correspondence: from their early years at Christ’s Hospital boarding school, through a staggering series of setbacks and disappointments, both meteoric and mediocre literary acceptance, Coleridge’s legendary substance abuse and Lamb’s late discovery of the essay as a form of expression.
Kirby Evans, opens up a new appreciation for the ways these unlikely friends shared the heroism of their age – the passions of an intellectual life. So different and yet so complementary, Coleridge and Lamb provide us with a unique and complex alternative to the more flamboyant relationships of their contemporaries. Coleridge seems to glory in the revolutionary break with established values, while Lamb accepts and submits.