By Anna Mercer
Thankyou to Lucy Hodgetts (University of York) for this festive post which continues the ‘On This Day’ series. Her blog discusses Charles Lamb’s letter to Thomas Manning exactly 200 years ago on the 25th December 1815.
(If you’d like to contribute a post to this blog series next year please contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Charles Lamb, by William Hazlitt (1804)
‘Dear Old Friend and Absentee’: Charles Lamb’s letter to Thomas Manning, 25th December, 1815.
by Lucy Hodgetts
Very few letters addressed to Charles Lamb still exist, apart from those written by the sinologist Thomas Manning. One of the first British scholars of Chinese language and culture, Manning was a friend and inspiration to Lamb throughout his writing life. Manning was the ‘friend M.’ from whom Elia professed to have received the translated Chinese manuscript which inspired ‘A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig’.
Manning was a gifted mathematician and was accepted to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1790 to study Maths, but sharing the Quaker antipathy towards oaths meant he never took a degree. He stayed in Cambridge studying medicine and teaching maths, and met Lamb in 1799. While at Cambridge, Manning became interested in the study of Chinese language and culture and in 1802 travelled …read more