LAMB, Charles (1775-1834). Autograph manuscript signed ("C L," with postscript signed "C Lamb") of an essay "On the Secondary Novels of Defoe," with extensive deletions and revisions by the author, sent as a letter with postscript addressed to "Dear W.," n.p., n.d. [postmarked 28 May 1829]. 2½ pages, folio, closely written, page 4 with address panel in Lamb's hand to "Walter Wilson Esq." in Bath, bound in tan straight-grained morocco gilt. -- [LAMB, Charles]. Portrait in ink and gray watercolor washes, with caption, "C.L.1802," beneath, by an unidentified artist, 93 x 77mm (3 5/8 x 3 7/8 I, bound with the preceding, accompanied by a letter from Bernard Quaritch, 23 August 1895, 1 page, 4to, offering the portrait to collector Dean Sage of Albany, New York. A good early profile of the author, delicately rendered, formerly in the possession of the publisher Moxon.
LAMB ON DEFOE'S NOVELS
An interesting brief essay, opening with the observation that "it has seldom happened that one Work of some Author has so transcendentally surpassed in execution the rest of his compositions, that the world has agred to pass a sentence of dismissal upon the latter, and to consign them to total neglect and oblivion" He cites Bunyan as an example, but "in no instance has this excluding partiality been exerted with more unfairness, than against what may be termed the Secondary Novels, or Romances of Defoe"; for, "while all ages hang delighted over the 'Adventures of Robinson Crusoe'--and shall continue to do so," such characters as "Roxana - Singleton - Moll Flanders - Colonel Jack--are all genuine offspring of the same father." Lamb goes on to discuss these, and Defoe's technique, noting that "The narrative manner of Defoe has a naturalness about it beyond that of any other Novel or Romance writer. His fictions have all the the air of true stories. The Narrators are chosen from low life. Therefore they tell their own tales (Mr. Coleridge has anticipated us in this remark). In a deleted passage, he draws parallels with the novels of Fielding, then astutely observes that Defoe, like Fielding or Hogarth, may be unnecessarily neglected by attitudes "which an unrestrained passion for the ideal & the sentimental is in danger of producing." This Lamb piece appeared on pp.636-639 of vol.3 of Walter Wilson's Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe, London, 1830 (3 vols.).
Prose manuscripts of Lamb are uncommon.