of Charles Lamb
for his essay
s in the London Magazine
between 1820 and 1833. The real Elia was an Italian who worked as a clerk at the South-Sea House
; I'm not sure why Lamb thought this name was a suitable pseudonym
. The essays were collected into two books, The Essays of Elia
in 1823 and The Last Essays of Elia
in 1833. The character of Elia is both autobiographical
, but since Lamb was very whimsical about real life, the inconsistencies and flights of fantasy
are all part of it. The essays cannot be read as straight biography. Sometimes Charles Lamb is mentioned in them, as a schoolfellow of Elia, only vaguely known, and much richer.
The Essays of Elia contains these essays:
The Last Essays of Elia contains these. The friend in the preface is Charles Lamb himself, commenting on poor Elia's quirky style: "Crude they are, I grant you -- a sort of unlicked, incondite things -- villainously pranked in an affected array of antique modes and phrases."