Come back! Charles Lamb Essayist
Let’s start re-explorations into his Elia


Part 1
Introductory Remarks by hokuto77

Part 2
Subtle Sympathies between Lamb and hokuto77

Part 3
Lamb and Gender Roles

Part 1
Introductory Remarks by hokuto77
 Sooner or later, dear readers, you'll notice that my essay on Lamb is wanting in fullness, compared with his literary gems and, sorry to say, it lacks the form of essay itself.
Elia was a long way off, though he was always silently in a bookcase in my small study. A lapse of years-about two scores of years has passed before my opening the bookcase to be friends with him.

 As an English literature student, I, now named hokuto77 on this website, had long cherished it in mind to read through Elia sometime when I'm free. In Japan, English literature scholars in the Meiji era (1868-1912) and the Taisho (1912-1926) were unanimously loud in the praise of Charles Lamb, as the top prose writer or the number one essayist in the English speaking world.
 When I was a college student, some Professor kindly recommended me to try reading his
"Essays of Elia". However, the Essays was not easy to read for ordinary Japanese students. To enjoy Elia to the full requires a large vocabulary and sharp nuance as well as a wide range of knowledge of Greek and Roman myths, let alone the Bible. If not, students would have to spend a vast amount of time on reading Elia.

 It seemed to me, then, it was doubtless that these difficulties, if overcome, would bring them a new world of English language and literature, with additional learning acquired.The Essays will lead those who read them to a new literary realm where they are to develop a feeling for language, what is better, to acquire the ability to distinguish a delicate shades of meaning.
After reading Hazlitt, all things considered, I grappled with the Essays of Elia, rather definitely resolved, if I may be allowed a little exaggeration. A lot of literary people, poets, dramatists, and novelists, contemporary with Lamb, are referred to or quoted in the Essays and a great many citations from Latin, old classics (which are, to those who have no such achievements, very troublesome as if lost in a deep forest or caught in a traffic jam) play very important parts here and there, just like those of Hazlitt. If you try your best to overcome it, you will be led to brilliance as a litarary student. This is confirmed in the following passages, quoted from Malcolm Elwin, and there also I can find out why my Professors, forty years ago, recommended me to read Elia.
 Here you've got a few quotations.
 The quotation
<In his manual on ’Literary Taste’
Arnold Bennett recommended the Essays of Elia as the best book for the beginner who wishes to cultivate taste in English literature."He is a great writer," wrote Bennett, "wide in his appeal, of a highly sympathetic temperament; and his finest achievements are simple and very short." Bennett advised the beginner in literature to "let one thing lead to another."
Notes by hokuto77 (for Japanese high school students):
      manual = handbook   appeal=attraction, interest
 "In the sea of literature every part communicates with every other part; there are no land-locked lakes ...
Lamb, if you are his intimate, has already brought you into relations with a number of other prominent writers with whom, you can in turn be intimate... Among these are Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Hazlitt, and Leigh Hunt. You cannot know Lamb without knowing these men  "..."
        land-locked=almost or quite enclosed by land
 It is true that
Elia provides a starting point for many investigation; his streets are full of sign-posts with alluring names, inviting exploration of crooked alleys that may lead suddenly upon unforgettable views. For this reason, an edition of Elia without adequate footnotes is like leaving a stranger after dark in a network of by-ways unlighted by streetlamps.
       alluring=charming, fascinating   crooked=not straight    alley=narrow street     lead upon=come upon + lead to
footnotes=notes at foot of page    by-ways=secluded roads form an idea of=know

 Since "the book is nothing but the expression of the man,"
Bennett emphasized that "the beginner in literary study should always form an idea of the man behind the book.">  (Written by Malcolm Elwin)

 Here you realize a question is raised: why was Hazlitt not recommended as a guide for English literature? The answer won't be given in a short time. Lamb and Hazlitt were on friendly terms with each other but there are lots of differences between them, especially in style, and their personnalities and directions of intellect. The first few lines of their essays tell me that there's a marked difference between the two. As for style, Hazlitt tastes like a white wine, while Lamb a brandy. Brandy is distilled from wine, which may be one part of the answer to the above question. It's clear that there's no superiority or inferiority in the differences between the two essayists. Both have their own worthy points and peculiarities.
 Another part of the answer may be attributed to the difference of their personalities, some of which I mentioned above, not to the literary talent or an artistic treatment of materials, which, I thnk, safely I can say. From the viewpoint of dignity as man, there's no struggle for mastery of personalities. The point is, which type is found the more favorable by those who read them.
Lamb pays a humane close attention to everyday lives and draw a lot from them, which reminds me of Buson's view of human beings. In Elia, he does not talk about the government or the trend of the times or economic problems, or religious conflicts.
Time outside Elia flies very fast but once inside
his world, we feel the passage of time very slow, as if going back to the past where we don't worry about the time or wandering into that timeless world, our time perception getting blunt.
 It’s of great relief to us readers to tackle
Elia without any worldly disturbance and it's a very imaginative and dreamy thinking to wonder what origin each of the Essays comes from. Some impressions I got of Elia may be confirmed by the following quotation.

The following is quotation②:
Elia there is no intrusion of disturbing emotion. There is nothing of religion or politics to inflict the discomforting embarrassment of controversial or speculative thought. Lamb would have delighted in the ponderous attempts of academic critics to explain away as harmless paradox Elia's description of the characters in the comedies of Congreve and Wycherley as "a world of themselves almost as much as fairy-land. " ---" 
  Notes by hokuto77 (for Japanese high school students) :
   intrusion <intrude=force thing upon person     disturbing=worrying   controversial=likely to cause controversy (=holding debate or
   speculative<speculate=form opinions without having
definite or complete knowledge or evidence i.e. based on
     reasoning, not facts
  ponderous=without vigor, heavy, dull      academic=scholarly; merely logical
Congreve: William
Congreve (1670-1729) play-right Wycherley     fairyland=home of fairies
 The world of books afforded for him always a fairyland of escape, and in Elia he devised for himself and his followers such another fairyland of escape.
 This is the abiding charm of Elia. He is the prince of escapists. Making no demands upon the jaded mind, inflicting no rubs on the tender consciences, he invites his reader to leisured enjoyment of evening twilight in a world of comfortable illusion.
<follow=go after as admirer, take --- as guide or master   devise=think out, invent  
   abiding=permanent, lasting
escapist<escapism=tendency to escape from the realities of life into
  fantasy     jaded=tired out   inflict=make somebody suffer
      something, impose suffering upon---    
rub=roughness       leisured=having plenty of leisure(=spare time)
 As Stevenson is the essayist addressing his message to inquiring and romantic youth, Elia addresses his appeal to the many, who, weary of the present and indifferent to the future, wish to cultivate a mood of pleasurable reminiscence, necessarily wistful, but without the bitterness of regret.>  

=showing an interest in learningnew things       weary of=no longer interested in
reminiscence=remembering      wistful=full of sad or vague longing, esp., for
 something that is past
bitterness<bitter=causing mental pain

(Written by Malcolm Elwin)

To Contents ☞

Part 2
Subtle Sympathies between Lamb and hokuto77

 For some forty years I was a high school teacher. One of the Essays, which attracted my attention first, was 'The Old and New Schoolmaster'. I remember reading some parts at a college seminar. About its amusing episode I will relate my readers here at the end of the chapter Part 2, if possible.

Begin quote.
 My reading has been lamentably desultory and immethodical. Odd, out of the way, old English plays, and treatises, have supplied me with most of my notions, and ways of feeling. In everything that relates to science, I am a whole Encyclopedia behind the rest of the world.
  Notes: by hokuto77 ( for Japanese high school students)
     desultory=not continuous, changing from one thing to another       immethodical=not systematic       odd=out of the way
out of t he way=uncommon   treatise=literary composition dealing more or less systematically definite subject
behind=making less progress than
  *In everything---I am a whole Encyclopedia behind the rest of the world = I have acquired by far less
knowledge than the rest of the
      world have. Ex, they were ten years behind their neighbors in
I should have scarcely cut a figure among the franklins, or country gentlemen, in King John's days. I know less geography than a schoolboy of six weeks' standing. To me a map of old Ortelius is as authentic as Arrowsmith.
 cut a figure=be distinguished    franklins=landowner of free, but not noble birth in 14th and 15th century
country gentleman=gentleman owning a lot of land    standing=continuance, duration, the length of time that something has existed
authentic=trustworthy   * a schoolboy of six weeks' standing=a boy who has been in school for six weeks
I do not know whereabout Africa merges into Asia; whether Ethiopia lie in one or other of those great divisions; nor can form the remotest conjecture of the position of New South Wales, or Van Diemen's Land. Yet do I hold a correspondence with a very dear friend in the first named of these two
Terrae Incognitae.
    merge into=fade or change gradually into something else       conjecture=guessing
Notes: ( by Kiichi Hirata, Malcolm Elwin)
    King John= king of England (1190~1216)  Ortelius=Abraham Ortelius(1527-1598) who made  the first recognized successful atlas
     in 1570. People call him Father of Modern Cartography.    
Arrowsmith=Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) who was an English
    artographer, engraver and publisher
(of maps) and founding members of the Arrowsmith family of geographers.(from Wikipedia)
   New South Wales=Australia        Van Diemen's Land=Tasumania       name(v)=mention
     Terrae Incognitae(L.) =”terra incognita”  (unknown land)
 I have no astronomy. I guess at Venus only by her brightness-and if the sun on some portentous morn were to make his first appearance in the West, I verily believe, that, while all the world were gasping in apprehension about me, I alone should stand un-terrified, from sheer incuriosity and want of observation."---"
Notes: by hokuto77 ( for Japanese high school students) 
portentous=of a sign of a future event    morn=morning   verily=really, truly      sheer=absolute; mere
* if the sun---were to make---, ~ I should stand--- ( if=even if )

 I am entirely unacquainted with the modern language; and like a better man than myself, have "small Latin and less Greek." I am a stranger to the shapes and texture of the common trees, herbs, flowers-not from the circumstance of my being town-born-for I should have brought the same inobservant spirit into the world with me, had I first seen it "on Devon's leafy shores," 

    leafy=having many trees and plants    * I should have brought---, had I first seen---(=if I had first seen---)
-and am no less at a loss among purely town objects, tools, engines, mechanic processes.-Not that I affect ignorance-but head has not many mansions, nor spacious; I have been obliged to fill it with such cabinet curiosities as it can hold without aching. I sometimes wonder how I have passed my probation with so little discredit in the world, as I have done, upon so meagre a stock.
*no less=at least as much    *Not that ~ but---=Not because ~ but because --- affect=pretend     cabinet=case with drawers
     etc for keeping valuables or displaying
curiosities   *curiosity=a strange or rare object   cabinet curiosities i.e.fragments
      or pieces of knowledge    probation=testing of person's conduct or character esp. before he is admitted to regular employment
     or full membership of some society  
discredit=loss of reputation or respect     meagre=small in quantity and poor in quality
But the fact is a man may do very well with a very little knowledge, and scarce be found out, in mixed company; everybody is so much more ready to produce his own, than to call for a display of your acquisitions. But in a tete-a-tete there is no shuffling. The truth will out. There is nothing which 1 dread so much, as the being left alone for a quarter of an hour with a sensible, well-informed man, that does not know me. I lately got into a dilemma of this sort.-End quote.
   (From 'The Old and New Schoolmaster')
 find out=detect, discover  produce=bring before the public      acquisitions=things acquired    tete-a-tete=a private interview
     or conversation usually between two    
shuffling=deceitful action, 
trickery(Onions)       out=come out, be revealed
   the being=the person that exists
      sensible=of good sense
*Instead of presenting Japanese translation of the above passage, hokuto77 commented on it as
plainly as possible, hoping young readers, esp. those in high teens will consult them usefully.

 Now, my impressions on the quoted passages go:
(1) Right at the outset two pairs of words, each with a same meaning, "desultory-immethodical", "odd-out of the way" are paralleled in order to emphasize the meaning. The parallel of words, phrases or syntax is a highly effective means of expression in the foreground of an essay. In the case of
this essay, it gives readers a lovely surprise and has a rather immediate effect on their understanding of Lamb's whole intention. In other words, it's very logical and persuasive to them.

(2) The metaphor here is very powerful or appropriate, and that in clear concrete terms. It gives impressiveness to the idea. "I am
a whole Encyclopedia behind the rest of the world." By this, Lamb refers to an Encyclopedia as a means of comparison. It's very witty and pleasing. All the other people know a lot and produce or display what they have acquired as if they knew a "whole" Encyclopedia, but 'my' knowledge is very scanty. Read from the other side, it shows readers his virtue of modesty, ━ believing that he is not important, better, or cleverer than other people, without any speck of meanness.

(3) The self-depreciating expressions on
his part do not always lead to a sense of dislike or disgust on the part of readers. He relates his knowledge, abilities, and achievements, as we have already seen, with a very abnormal modesty, but not with a pretended one. To look for examples, we will find them here and there in Elia. His modesty connects rather with a sincere satire on himself not with a pride or arrogance.

His descriptions of details on some theme are thorough and absolute. In this passage, he mentions his wide range of knowledge; from science proper to technology, all in nine items,- science, geography, astronomy, history and chronology, geometry, modern language, plants, and machinery. But it does not necessarily mean that Lamb shows off his breadth of learning, but rather his humility about his achievements.
 It's very strange that, as for
other items except for nine of the above, we cannot help but wonder whether he is proficient in them or not. This may be one of his charming points, and it may stands for one aspect of his noble and refined personality.

(5) Classics or works of
his contemporaries are quoted in such a natural and ingenuous manner that they can't be recognized as such on the spot. They are completely involved into his syntax. But some time it’s clearly shown as a quotation. Please just read below:
"on Devon's leafy shore"
There is no shuffling.   (Hamlet III iii 61)
The truth will out.
 The above expressions are quoted in successive three lines as if they were not derived from other sources but of his own creation. These are perfectly assimilated to his style and finally into one of the constituent parts of his originals. So nowadays nobody can have the copyright on the expressions.

(6) His satires, one of which you've already seen in (3), are found here and there but they are, as a whole, very pleasant to read. Some additional examples go:
  '---like a better man than myself, have small Latin and less Greek'
In this sentence Lamb suggests that a better man than himself is Shakespeare. The word "small" is equivalent to "little" in meaning and in this respect 'less' means smaller. Lamb learned Latin to an amazing degree, but about Greek he learned far less than Latin.
Everybody is so much more ready to produce his own, than to call for a display of your acquisitions'.
This is common knowledge from an everyday experience in society, but when Elia mentions it, strangely it sounds like a new truth of his own discovery.

(7) Books were everything to those who had a desire for learning in the era when
Lamb lived. Reading was the key to the building of personality. It's a matter of course that   'desultory' reading did not beget anything useful in this respect.
 Even if did arise an opportunity to read systematically,
most of the masses missed, or were deprived of the million-to-one chance that they'd meet. When Lamb says        "desultory", it's a sort of luxury given only to some chosen people. Lamb realized it, so that he says "my reading is lamentably desultory". It doesn't seem it's his pretence. It must be his hearty confession. I'm going on with my exploration into 'The old and new school master' for a further excitement. I just hope dear readers will follow me.

Begin quote.
 The modern schoolmaster is expected to know a little of everything, because his pupil is required not to be entirely ignorant of anything. He must be superficially, if I may so say, omniscient. He is to know something of pneumatics; of chemistry; of whatever is curious, or proper to excite the attention of the youthful mind; an insight into mechanics is desirable, with a touch of statistics; the quality of soils, etc., botany, the constitution of his country,ァcum multis aliis.

  Notes on words, idioms, constructions by hokuto77:
   schoolmaster=a teacher in a school, esp. a private school  omniscient=knowing everything (omni: omnis form of Latin=all)
pneumatics=science of mechanical properties of air or other elastic fluids or gases    proper=fit, suitable   a touch of=a small
     amount of
  constitution(of his country)=mode in which State is organized; body of fundamental principles according to which a
     State is Governed    *
cum multisaliis(L.)=with many other matters
 You may get a notion of some part of his expected duties by consulting the famous Tractate on Education, addressed to Mr. Hartlib. All these things-these, or the desire of them-he is expected to instill, not by set lessons from professors, which he may charge in the bill, but at school-intervals, as he walks the streets, or saunters through green fields (those natural instructors), with his pupils.
    get a notion of
=have an idea of     tractate eatise       *Tractate on Education, (which was) addressed to
 Mr. Hartlib.
address(v)= send as a written message to (some one); to write (anything) expressly   
 *Mr. Hartlib=Samuel Hartlibwho was a
     merchant in London and a friend of
Milton’s. In 1644, Milton
addressed to him Tract on Education.   instill=put---into mind gradually
set=composed beforehand 
   charge ~ in the bill i.e. in time he may do set lessons himself   charge=enter cost to account i.e.
    recording costin the bill  
  bill=note of charges for goods, work done, Thearticle is not charged in the bill. i.e. The article is
    not written down in the bill.
   saunter=walk inleisurely way   *as he walks the---=when he walks the---
 The least part of what is expected from him, is to be done in school-hours. He must insinuate knowledge at the ィmollia temora fandi. He must seize every occasion-the season of the year-the time of the day -a passing cloud-a rainbow-a waggon of a hay-a regiment of soldiers going by-to inculcate something useful. 
The least part of what is    expected from him, is to be done in school-hours. =What he does in school hour  
is not expected of him
     at all.   
 insinuate =introduce gradually or subtly,(convey indirectly)
  ィmolliatemorafandi(L.)=the soft(i.e. favourable) times for
regiment=a large military
 group, under the command of a colonel    inculcate =impress (fact, habit, idea) persistently in

 He can receive no pleasure from a casual glimpse of Nature, but must catch at it as an object of instruction. He must interpret beauty into the picturesque. He cannot relish a beggar-man, or a gipsy, for thinking of the suitable improvement. Nothing comes to him, not spoiled by the sophisticating medium of moral uses.

=due to chance, accidental        the picturesque =such as would be effective in a picture 
 relish =get pleasure out of, like, be
    pleased with     *
for thinking of---=in order to think of--- 
  sophisticate=spoil the simplicity or purity or naturalness of 
Nothing comes to him, not spoiled by ---
=Everything that comes to him is always spoiled by---  medium=means
 The Universe-that Great book, as it has been called-is to him, indeed, to all intents and purposes, a book, out of which he is doomed to read tedious homilies to distasting schoolboys. 
  to all intents and purposes=practically, virtually doom=destine     homily =tedious moralizing discourse  
 tedious=tiresomely long
distasting =(arch. dislike) distasting     schoolboys=schoolboys who  
dislike tedious homework
-Vacations themselves are none to him, he is only rather worse off than before; for commonly he has some intrusive upper-boy fastened upon him at such times; some cadet of a great family;

=no vacations whatever    worse off<badly off=having little money, poor i.e. The schoolmaster is
 obliged to spend money for a
    boy following him during vacations.     
intrusive=causing one to be
 disturbed upper=higher in rank, dignity
fasten =attach commonly, usually    cadet=younger son

some neglected lump of nobility, or gentry; that he must drag after him to the play, to the Panorama, to Mr. Bartley's Orrery, to the Panopticon, or into the country, to a friend's house, or his favourite watering-place. Wherever he goes this uneasy shadow attends him. A boy is at his board, and in his path, and in all his movements. He is boy-rid, sick of perpetual boy. End quote.
 (From The old and new school master)
neglected=not treated with proper attention; disregarded     lump=dull or indolent person    nobility=the or a class of nobles
gentry=people next below the nobility in position and birth      *Panopticon was a
lecture theater in Leicester Square, where common
   lectures of science were held.  
  model of planetary system    country=rural parts or any spot in them as opposite
   towns or the capital 
  watering-place=spa. seaside health-resort   at his board=when he is at table   boy-rid=haunted by boys
ride=haunt=be persistently with)   rid(arch.)=ridden]   sick of=bored with, not liking throughhaving had too much
perpetual=continual, too frequent     omni-science=infinite knowledge, orthe affectation of it
 The first reading of the passages created some pleasing impressions on me. One reason is;
Latin is used in two parts very naturally and effecttively from the point of both syntax and rhythms. It's Lamb's one of the most excellent achievements. But I think the reason why he used Latin may be that the schoolmaster's duty is, probably he wanted readers to know, as troublesome as though to learn Latin.
 Another is; the items about schoolmaster's office are of surprisingly detailed description and full of reality. Maybe it comes from
his experiences in schooldays. He stayed at Christ's Hospital for seven years, which was, if striclty ranked, would be  a sceond-rate boarding school, but was surely one of the public schools of fame and tradition and full of violence. Very sympathetic with hard and painful situations of schoolmaster, Lamb wrote about it with a touch of pathos, but strangely, I read there a sort of longing for wide knowledge, and especially for 'being boys'.
 As for
his breadth of knowledge, the weak points in science are mentioned in detail at the outset, where he tells us he's got very little scientific knowledge, and to his great wonder, schoolmasters have got to know something of everything, even about science in which Lamb confesses he is very weak. To know one thing well is better than to know many things by halves, as is, in a sense, considered an important idea, but the great wonder of his may be regarded as a kind of longing.
 Concerning boys and their noises,
he writes thus, in lines right after the above quoted passage:
 Boys are capital fellows in their own way, among their mates; but they are unwholesome companions for grown people."---" Even a child, that "plaything for an hour," tires always."---" It is like writing to music. They seem to modulate my periods. They ought at least to do so-for in the voice of that tender age there is a kind of poetry, far unlike the harsh prose-accents of man's conversation. "---".
capital=excellent, first-rate      unwholesome<wholesome=producing a good effec
always=if we grown-ups are always with a child     modulate=vary or regulate the pitch or intonation of, adjust
   esp. in sound i.e. change (in this case 'music' and 'modulate' are puns.)    
periods =either (1)complete sentences
   esp. one of several clauses, or (2)formal discourse, stately rhetoric; rhetorical language
harsh=rough to the senses or feelings; unfeeling
prose-accent=accent of plain matter-of-fact quality  i.e. without any rhyme or rhythm.
 His longing for boys keeps himself away from being always with them and by letting them be in their own way, he makes the longing a lasting one.
The last reason for the good impressions on me is; some of the duties of schoolmasters are associated with what is called a 'general learning' class (総合的な学習の時間)in Japanese schools, where there are no authorized text books for both teachers and students. But, in Japan, to learn from Nature, the Universe, and daily lives of common people, or from students' practical experiences is all "to be done in school-hours", not "at school-intervals." Japanese teachers are far more fortunate than schoolmasters of Lamb's times. His strong sympathy for the schoolmaster, I'm sure, will strike a responsive chord with those Japanese teachers of today who are busily occupied with school works

Begin quote.
 I would not be domesticated all my days with a person of very superior capacity to my ownnot, if I know myself at all, from any considerations of jealousy or self-comparison, for the occasional communion with such minds has constituted the fortune and felicity of my life
  Notes (by hokuto77):
    be domesticated=be made to be at home  communion =holding intimate intercourse, sharing,  participation    fortune=good luck;
felicity=great happiness
butthe habit of too constant intercourse with spirits above you, instead of raising you, keeps you down. Too frequent doses of original thinking from others, restrain what lesser portion of faculty you may possess of your own. You get entangled in another man's mind, even as you lose yourself in another man's ground.
   dose=an amount of medicine or a drug to be taken at a time      even as --= just as –
 You are walking with a tall varlet, whose strides out-pace yours to lassitude. Theconstant operation of such potent agency would reduce me, I am convinced, to imbecilify.
 varlet=medieval page preparing to be a squire     out-pace i.e. going faster than     lassitude =a state of feeling very tired in mind or
   body; lack of energy      
operation=active process, performance
    potent=powerful, mighty    agency=active operation, action
imbecility=the state of being stupid

You may derive thoughts from others;
your way of thinking, the mould in which your thoughts are cast, must be your own. Intellect maybe imparted, but not each man'sintellectual frame. As little as I should wish to be always thus dragged upwards, as little (or rather still less) is it desirable to be stunted downwards by your associates.The trumpet doesnot more stun you by its loudness, than a whisper teases you by its provoking inaudibility.

  stun=check growth or development of     tease=worry (esp. with playful malice)   provoke=give rise to anger
Why are we never quite at our ease in the presence of a schoolmaster?because we are conscious that he is not quite at his ease in ours. He is awkward, and out of place in the society of his equals. He comes like Gulliver from among his little people, and he cannot fit the stature of his understanding to yours. He cannot meet you on the square.He wants a point given him, like an indifferent whist-player. He is so used to teaching, that he wants to be teaching you.
Notes (by hokuto77):
awkward=clumsy     stature=the height of a human body    on the square=honest, sincere, genuine=on equal terms  (Notes by K.
)     a point given  i.e. as a handicap
   whist-player=a person who play a whist     whist=a card game(long, short ~, with ten,
  five, points
 to the game)
One of these professors, upon my complaining that these little sketches of mine were anything but methodical, and that I was unable to make them otherwise, kindly offered to instruct me in the method by which young gentlemen in his seminary were taught to compose English themes.
  indifferent=neither good n or bad, rather bad (Notes by K. Hirata)      anything but=far from
 The jest of a schoolmaster are coarse, or thin. They do not tell out of school. He is under the restraint of a formal or didactic hypocrisy in company, as a clergyman is under a moral one. He can no more let his intellect loose in society.than the other can his inclinations. He is forlorn among his coevals; his juniors cannot be his friends.      End quote. (from 'The Old and New Schoolmaster')

 jest=a joke    coarse=rude, unrefined, vulgar    didactic=meant or meaning to instruct   (Gkdidasko=teach)   tell=produce a
  noticeable effect     
inclinations=disposition; liking
   forlorn=abandoned     coeval=a person of same age

 My general impressions on Elia:
 My essay on Lamb is very meager, compared with his fine pieces of prose, the literary gems. My conclusion goes:
 The characteristics of
Lamb's essays are that, the framework is logically consistent and relevant concrete instances based on his own experiences are elaborately developed into the main issue, whose process is so bewitching that, once fascinated, it is rather tough to escape his power to charm us.
  The sensibility and thinking unique to Lamb and peculiarities of his ways of life were too striking to be missed or changed by anybody else. This is shown in the first half of the quoted passage. He would not bury himself in other people. He always had a strong desire to be original and preserved his originality all his life both in literature and actulal life style, even if its range was limited. On the other hand, he was not reluctant to get information, knowledge, thoughts, and intellect itself from others.
 That is why, it's safely said,
he acquired a world-wide reputation as a first rate essayist in the early 19th century, though he was not educated in university. His uniqueness is, in any case, constant and unchangeable in any way. In the passage, his argument is well developed, and very persuasive to present-day readers. In spite of myself, some time I nodded, responding to his views, while reading the italicized parts, ア/a/,イ/ɪ/,ウ/ʊ/,エ/e/ and some time made a new discovery of his intellectual delicacy and finally he won a mute but 'thundering' applause from me.
The latter half the passage is mostly made up of finding fault with schoolmasters, as well as professors, or of telling that schoolmasters' acquisitions are far from being welcomed to ordinary people. Specialists as they are, both clergymen and schoolmasters are, in their ways of thinking and activity, restricted to narrow limits within their own. The world in which they live is not open to ordinary citizens, nor to the world as a whole. This may also be true to people of other professions, specialists, including craftsmen in the town.
 Why did
he refer to these peculiarities of schoolmasters' or professors'? The answer may be that it resulted from his sympathy for them, not his despise to the occupation. Strange enough, I remember this part was studied in a seminar of 'modern essays' when I was a college student and then Professor Ogura(小倉) complained to his students, when the italicized part ウ/ʊ/ was discussed, that Alas! finally, a professor became a victim of Lamb's pen.
 It's regrettable that in those days I did not have any literary ability or experience to fully appreciate
Lamb's superb style of literature.

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Part 3
Lamb and Gender Roles

 When I read for the first time 'Modern Gallantry', I thought Lamb should be revaluated more highly, just as Henry David Thoreau was done in a world-wide  scale on account of his love of nature and for his simple life according to the throb of nature. The rason is, today the environment of the Earth is in danger of being largely destroyed which will possibly lead to that of human beings ourselves, especially through a growing rise in the Earth’s temperature.
 Today, even in Japan, gender studies are very active in many fields and the movements to stop the gender bias and establish gender-free society, that is, equality of the sexes are hopefully spreading with much rapidity and supported by lots of sensible people everywhere in Japan. Nevertheless, violence in home, so-called domestic violence,DVwives being beaten by their husbands, or children beaten or teased to death by grown-ups, especially by their own parents, are sadly growing in number. It's a black tragedy and it must be prevented no matter what it costs.

 Dear visitors, please allow new information to cut in here:
 I read
Vox Populi, Vox Dei, under the title of Child abuse an evil that involves all of society
’, on March 15, 2010, several years after I had written this essay on 'Modern Gallantry'. I was so sympathetically touched by the article that I’ve decided to quote relevant passages from it on its English edition for my dear readers. It goes:

 “---” But sadly in our country, there seems to be no end to parents who, instead of protecting their children from danger, become like demons and abuse the little ones until their lives are *snuffed out. In some cases, in fact, I would not hesitate to call the parents murderers.
Tomoki Yoshida in Nara Prefecture was starved to death by his parents. At age 5, he reportedly weighed only 6 kilograms. Rikito Shindo in Saitama Prefecture, who was 4 when he died, had been heard by neighbors begging for water.
In addition to their obvious physical agony, both youngsters must have suffered unimaginable terror and despair. My heart breaks with pity for these little boys who died under such cruel circumstances. “---”

Whenever there is child abuse, I should hope that the entire community or society would spread its arms wide and draw itself up to its full height to confront the crisis. Action must be taken before any young life is snuffed out.Once the child is dead, it's too late.
The Asahi Shimbun English edition, March 7
, 2010
[Note by hokuto77]
*snuff --- out=stop or destroy something completely
*March 7 is the day when the article was run in Japanese.

  I think it a historically striking fact that as early as in the early 19th century Lamb insisted eagerly and very concretely, on women being treated with the kindest attention and courtesy, as a female. As is clearly acknowledged, he respected human rights of women, regardless of their birth, social status, or wealth or appearances.  Every work by Lamb should be re-read in a new light, though he is already regarded as a feminist, and it's highly desirable that more and more people be interested in his works and his views of life and women. In 2004, in Japan, women have so much energy as to be enthusiastic over a Korean male film star, and the boom "Dear Yon" is at its height all over Japan. I heartily hope Japanese women, young and old, spare some of the energy on reading Elia, calling "Dear Elia" in addition to "Dear Yon".
Now I quote some part of '
Modern Gallantry'.

*You can get a few versions of The Essays of Elia translated into Japanese.
エリア随筆 (岩波文庫 赤 223-1) ラム 戸川 秋骨 (文庫 - 1940/9/10)
エリア随筆抄 (大人の本棚) チャールズ ラム、Charles Lamb、山内 義雄、 庄野 潤三
エリアのエッセイ (平凡社ライブラリー) チャールズ ラム、Charles Lamb、 船木 裕 (新書 - 1994/10)
エリア随筆集〈続〉 (1948年) (英米名著叢書) C.ラム 石田 憲次 (- - 1948)

Begin quote.
In comparing modern with ancient manners, we are pleased to compliment ourselves upon the point of gallantry; a certain obsequiousness, or deferential respect, which we are supposed to pay to females, as females.
  Notes by hokuto77:
    *of gallantry;  [Here followed, in the London Magazine, "as upon a thing altogether unknown to the old classic ages. This has been
     defined to consist in a certain obsequiousness, or---"] (
by M. Elwin)  compliment--on~=express praise or admiration in a polite
  point=the essential thing, the heart of the matter=the essential meaning, feature(OALD)    gallantry=courtliness, devotion
women, =polite attention given by men to women     obsequiousness<obsequious=showing too much respect for
deferential<deference=respectful conduct  be supposed to do=be expected to
do or required to do
 I shall believe that this principle actuates our conduct, when I can forget, that in the nineteenth century of the era from which we date our civility, we are but just beginning to leave off the very frequent practice of whipping females in public, in common with the coarsest male offenders.
   actuate=serve as motive to   date from=have origin from    civility=civilization(by KH)    *When I can forget---=There is no such
     thing as---=I see no longer~   
 leave off=cease to wear, to do, come to an end   in common with=in the same way as
 coarse=unrefined   offender=guilty person

 I shall believe it to be influential, when I can shut my eyes to the fact, that in England women are still occasionallyhanged.
   influential=having great influence       *I can shut my eyes to---=There is no such thing existing=I see no longer~
 I shall believe in it, when actresses are no longer subject to be hissed off a stage by gentlemen.

   lieve in=have faith in the existence of anything       subject to=liable or exposed or prone to    hiss=express disapproval of
 I shall believe in it, when Dorimant hands a fish-wife across the kennel; or assists the apple-woman to pick up her wandering fruit, which some unlucky dray has just dissipate.

   Dorimant=a gallant, a man of fashion = the gallant man of fashion in Sir George Etherege's comedy, 'The man of Mode, or Sir Fopling
by Malcolm)     hand(V)=help (person) with the hand (into, out of, carriage etc.)      fish-wife=woman selling fish
kennel=gutter    wandering=scattered       dray=low cart without sides for heavy loads      dissipate=scatter

 I shall believe in it, when the Dorimants in humbler life, who would be thought in their way notable adepts in this refinement, shall act upon it, in places where they are not known, or think themselves not observed
  Notes by hokuto77:
   in their way=if regarded from a particular standpoint appropriate to them   adept=one who is thoroughly proficient in—
refinement=fineness of feeling or taste, polished manners     observe=take notice of

when I shall see the traveller for some rich tradesman part with his admired box-coat, to spread it over the defenseless shoulders of the poor woman, who is passing to her parish on the roof of the same stage-coach with him, drenched in the rain
    traveller=one who travels from place to place as the representative of a business firmer an agent employed by a commercial firm
     to travel from place to  place showingsamples if goods and soliciting
   custom=commercial traveler(by K.Hirata)
 box-coat= heavy overcoat worn by coachman on the box, or by those who are riding outside a coach    box=driver's seat on a coach
when I shall no longer see a woman standing up in the pit of a London theatre, till she is sick and faint with the exertion, with men about her, seated at their ease, and jeering at her distress; till one, that seems to have more manners or conscience than the rest, significantly declares "she should be welcomed to his seat, if she were a little younger and handsomer."
   pit=ground floor of auditorium of theatre    jeer at=throw contempt on   distress=extreme discomfort
Place this dapper warehouse man, or that rider, in a circle of their own female acquaintance, and you shall confess you have not seen a politer-bred man in Lothbury.
   dapper=neat, smart in appearance or movement    warehouseman=(esp.) person taking temporary charge of others' furniture &c.
rider=commercial traveler(by K. Hirata)    politer-bred  i.e. more courteous

 Lastly, I shall begin to believe that there is some such principle influencing our conduct, when more than one-half of the drudgery and coarse servitude of the world shall cease to be performed by women.
   drudgery=hard boring work (OALD),work of a person who works hard at distasteful tasks     servitude=exhausting labor
Until that day comes, I shall never believe this boasted point to be anything more than a conventional fiction; a pageant got up between the sexes, in a certain rank, and at a certain time of life, in which both find their account equally.  End quote.   (from 'Modern Gallantry')
   this boasted point=certain obsequiousness, or deferential respect, which we are supposed to pay to  females, as females. 
anything more than a conventional fiction = a real thing       fiction= a thing that is invented or imagined and is not
    true / conventionally accepted falsehood
   pageant=something which is a mere empty or specious show without substance
     or reality
   get up=stage     * a conventional fiction; a pageant got up between the sexes   [apposition]
   account=profit, advantage

Judging from his argument in these passages, Lamb was certainly thinking of 'gender freer'. The reason is that he led his life as a feminist, in thoughts and behaviors, is that his elder sister Mary Lamb(1764 - 1847), in a sense, had a favorable influence on him in building up his viewpoint of womanhood. To Lamb, the display of 'gallantry' means to treat women as his equals, there being no gender bias at all in his mind and heart. In its true sense of the word, Lamb was a man of 'gallantry', of valor, dashing courage, as if that in front.
  I quote further parts of '
Modern Gallantry' in order to see how he organizes his deep thinking as a feminist. He tells women how to think and behave in response to men's 'gallantry' and finally he gives a fine object lesson to the both sexes: that man should be equal, not partial, to any woman in gallantry; and that woman must be proud of herself as a woman and respect herself as a female.

Begin quote.

Joseph Paice , of Bread-street-hill, merchant, and one of the Directors of the South Sea company the same to whom Edwards, the Shakespeare commentator, has addressed a fine sonnet was the only pattern of consistent gallantry I have met with. He took me under his shelter at an early age, and bestowed some pains upon me.  “---”
  Notes by hokuto77:
    Joseph Paice=a director of the South-Sea Company, into whose office Lamb went on leaving school to learn book-keeping and
   business habits
(by Malcolm Elwin)   *the same to whom [the same=the same person i.e. Joseph Paice]      Edwards i.e. Thomas
    Edwards, known more of a critic than a poet, was
Joseph Paice's uncle (by Kiichi Hirate)     address a fine sonnet to--=write and send
    a fine sonnet to---
  sonnet=a poem that has 14 lines, each containing 10 syllables and a fixed pattern of rhyme
     shelter=protection   bestow=give, confer   pains=trouble taken/careful effort
 He was never married, but in his youth he paid his addresses to the beautiful Susan Winstanley old Winstanley's daughter of Clapton who dying in the early days of their courtship, confirmed in him the resolution of perpetual bachelorship.
  courtship=courting with a view to marriage; wooing [court=make love to with a view to marriage]   confirm=make stronger
   perpetual=continuous      bachelorship=unmarried life

It was during their short courtship, he told me, that he had been one day treating his mistress with a profusion of civil speeches the common gallantries to which kind of thing she had hitherto manifested no repugnancebut in this instance with no effect. He could not obtain from her a decent acknowledgement in return. She rather seemed to resent his compliments. He could not set it down to caprice, for the lady had always shown herself above that littleness.
  a profusion of=a great quantity of    civil=polite     repugnance=dislike, antipathy    gallantry=polite speech
manifest=show plainly to eye or to mind     effect=result, consequence   decent=good enough/satisfactory
acknowledgement=an expression of thanks for   compliment=an expression of praise, admiration, etc.     set--down=attribute to 
 littleness=littleness of mind, pettiness(by K. Hirata)     that littleness=caprice=a sudden change in attitude or behavior with no
  obvious cause

 When he ventured on the following day, finding her a little better humoured, to expostulate with her on her coldness of yesterday, she confessed, with her usual frankness, that she had no sort of dislike to his attentions;"---"that she hoped she could digest a dose of adulation, short of insincerity, with as little injury to her humility as most young women: but that
   venture to do=dare, not be afraid to do      expostulate=protest to---     no sort of--=no—whatever (used as an emphatic negative
    phrase to denote the complete absence of anything of the kind
specified OED)     attentions=courtship, addresses
digest=endure, be reconciled to    dose=an amount of flattery   *digest--dose (two words are related in meaning)
short of=less than—   insincerity<sincerity   adulation<adulate=flatter basely    humility=humbleness

a little before he had commenced his compliments she had overheard him by accident, in rather rough language, rating a young woman, who had not brought home his cravats quite to the appointed time, and she thought to herself, "As I am Miss Susan Winstanley, and a young lady a reputed beauty, and known to be a fortune,  
   commence=begin       rate=scold angrily     overhear=hear as unintended listener      cravats=broad necktie
reputed=generally considered to be ---      fortune=heiress

I can have my choice of the finest speeches from the mouth of this very fine gentleman who is courting me but if I had been poor Mary Such-a-one (naming the milliner), and had failed of bringing home the cravats to the appointed hour though perhaps I had sat up half the night to forward them what sort of compliments should I have received then?
   can have one's choice --=can choose---     milliner=maker-up of or dealer of women's hats, ribbons, and so on
court=seek the love of        sit up=not go to bed     forward(v)=accelerate growth of

And my woman's pride came to my assistance; and I thought, that if it were only to do me honour, a female, like myself, might have received handsomer usage: and I was determined not to accept any fine speeches, to the compromise of that sex, the belonging to which was after all my strongest claim and title to them."

  *only to do me honour i.e. only to give me an honor as a female     handsome=generous    usage=treatment (handsome treatment:
honour=civilities to guest and so on    to the compromise of=imperiling the reputation of(by K. Hirata)
compromise=partial surrender of one's position for the sake of coming to terms(OED)     claim=right or title to
title=just or recognized claim to thing or to do     *the milliner=a young woman, who had not brought home his cravats quite
to the
    appointed time

 I think the lady discovered both generosity, and just way of thinking, in this rebuke which she gave her lover; and "---" I wish the whole female world would entertain the same notion of these things that Miss Winstanley showed.
  rebuke=an expression of sharp or severe disapproval to      entertain=cherish     *the whole female world   [world=all that
   concerns or all who belong to specified department or class,
sphere, domain]

Then we should see something of the spirit of consistent gallantry; and no longer witness the anomaly of the same man a pattern of true politeness to a wife of cold contempt or rudeness, to a sister the idolater of his female mistress the disparager and despiser of his no less female aunt, or unfortunate still female maiden cousin. 
   consistent=constant to same principles     anomaly=irregularity     idolater=devout admirer(of)
   disparager<disparage=speak slightingly of     no less=as much       maiden=virgin
Just so much respect as a woman derogates from her own sex, in whatever condition placed her handmaid, or dependentshe deserved to have diminished from herself on that score; and probably will feel the diminution, when youth, and beauty, and advantages, not inseparable from sex, shall lose of their attraction. What a woman should demand of a man in courtship, or after it, is first respect for her as she is a woman;
  derogate from=(arc.)take away--from ~      hand-maid=female servant     diminish=lessen, make smaller     score=point or matter
diminution=lessening      lose of=lose something of
   [Construction notes by hokuto77:]
  Just so much respect as a woman derogates from her own sex, in whatever condition placedher handmaid, or dependent she
    deserved to have diminished from herself on that score

       *she deserved to have diminished from herself Just so much respect as a woman derogates from her own sex,
as=whichjust so--as~=just as--as~]
     *in whatever condition (she might be) placed

next to that to be respected by him above all other women. But let her stand upon her femal character as upon a foundation; and let the attentions, incident to individual preference, be so many pretty additaments and ornaments as many, and as fanciful, as you please to that main structure. Let her first lesson be with sweet Susan Winstanley to reverence her sex. End quote.
                                                         (from 'Modern Gallangry')
  attentions=courtship, addresses       incident to =apt to occur, naturally attaching   additament=anything added or appended; an
    reverence=revere=feel deep respect or admiration fo

 Hokuto77's fervent wish:
Elia, including other works of Lamb, belongs to English literary classics, but sorry to say, does not attract attention from people these days. Nevertheless, in classics, as everyone knows, there can be found a lot of precious stones which still have their brilliancy even in the 21st century. 'Modern gallantry' will surely be born again as one of fine jewels if people of all ages and both sexes savor it fully worldwide

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(To be continued)