Discuss the autobiographical element in Charles Lamb’s essay Dream Children: A Reverie

A characteristic mark of romantic writing is subjectivity. A romantic author gives out much of himself in his writing. Charles Lamb is a romantic author. A strong note of subjectivity always rings through his writing.

Lamb’s essays are, indeed, distinctly autobiographical. He himself is the hero of his essays. He tells much of himself in them. He takes his readers into confidence. He tells them confidently all that he loved and lost, desired and enjoyed. This autobiographical element has made Lamb’s essays personal and profoundly moving.

Dream Children: A Reverie‘ is also an autobiographical writing of Lamb. Lamb here speaks of his boyhood days and youth. He describes here his happy days at the mansion of his grandmother Mrs. Field. The essay contains the description of Lamb’s mode of living in Mrs. Field’s place during his vacations.

Dream Children: A Reverie‘ also describes Lamb’s affectionate relationship with his elder brother John. He describes John’s good appearance and courage and affection for him. Lamb’s profound grief at the death of his brother is, too, revealed here well.

The essay also contains the story of Lamb’s courtship with Ann Simmons. He could not marry the girl. The essay records his sense of regret and unhappiness for his lonely and bachelor life, which he had to embrace for the sake of his sister.

Lamb’s essay is also rich in personal touches. He reveals himself here. His tender, shy nature, and sense of humour are well marked here. Lamb’s love for children and fondness for matrimony are no less marked in the essay. His deep desire to have a happy home and sweet children remarkably mcomes out here.

Like other romantic authors, Lamb has a tendency to mystify his readers. He gives some misleading details and suggestions to make his essays enjoyable. In ‘Dream Children: A Reverie‘, Lamb speaks of the early death of his brother. This makes his essay pathetic. But John Lamb did not die early. Again, Lamb says to his dream children that he courted Alice W-n. But actually he loved Ann Simmons. He spent his vacation with her grandmother Mrs. Field. But Mrs. Field lived at Hertfordshire, and not at Norfolk, as mentioned in the essay. Lamb starts his essay in such a manner as to suggest that he was a married man with children. But, in fact, Lamb was a life-long bachelor, who had to sacrifice the joy of matrimony and parenthood for his sister. All such mystifications serve to make this brief essay more relishing and engaging.