1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Lamb

John Gibson Lockhart, in Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk (1819) 2:142-43.



The Edinburgh Reviewers have not checked or impeded only the influence of particular authors among their countrymen; they have entirely prevented them from ever coming beyond the Tweed. They have willed them to be unknown, absolutely and literally unknown, and so are they at this moment. I do not on my conscience believe, that there is one Whig in Edinburgh to whom the name of my friend Charles Lamb would convey any distinct or definite idea. His John Woodville was ridiculed in the Edinburgh Review, and the effect of this paltry ridicule has been not only to prevent the Scotch from reading John Woodville, (a tragedy which, although every way worthy of Lamb's exquisite genius, wants very many of the popular charms in which some of his other pieces are rich to overflowing) — but almost to prevent them from remembering that such a person as Charles Lamb exists, at least to prevent them most effectually from ever having recourse for delight and instruction to volumes, wherein as much delight and instruction may be found, as in any of similar size, which an English library possesses.