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Humble Men in Company

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.