Lamb

Lamb

[lam]
Lamb, Lady Caroline: see under Melbourne, William Lamb, 2d Viscount.
Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834, English essayist, b. London. He went to school at Christ's Hospital, where his lifelong friendship with Coleridge began. Lamb was a clerk at the India House from 1792 to 1825. In 1796 his sister Mary Ann Lamb (1764-1847) in a fit of temporary insanity attacked and wounded their father and stabbed and killed their mother. Lamb had himself declared her guardian to save her from permanent commitment to an asylum, and after 1799 they lived together. Mary was an intelligent and affectionate companion, but the shadow of her madness continued to plague their lives. They collaborated on several books for children, publishing in 1807 their famous Tales from Shakespeare. Lamb wrote four plays, none of which were successful. However, his dramatic essays, Specimens of English Dramatic Poets (1808), established his reputation as a critic and did much in reviving the popularity of Elizabethan drama. From 1800 on he wrote intermittently for periodicals, the major contribution being the famous Essays of Elia (London Magazine, 1820-25), which were collected in 1823 and 1833. The essays cover a variety of subjects and maintain throughout an intimate and familiar tone. Lamb's style is peculiarly his own. His close-knit, subtle organization, his self-revealing observations on life, and his humor, fantasy, and pathos combine to make him one of the great masters of the English essay. Lamb was a gifted conversationalist and was friendly with most of the major literary figures of his time.

See his Life, Letters and Writings, ed. by P. Fitzgerald (1895, repr. 1971); E. W. Marrs, Jr., ed., The Letters of Charles and Mary Anne Lamb (3 vol., 1975-78); biographies by A. Ainger (1901, repr. 1970), E. V. Lucas (1968), D. Cecil (1984), and B. Cornwall (2003); biography of Mary Anne Lamb by S. T. Hitchcock (2004); studies by E. Blunden (1954; 1933, repr. 1967), J. E. Riehl (1980), and G. Monsman (1984 and 2003).

Lamb, John, 1735-1800, American Revolutionary leader, b. New York City. Prior to the Revolution he was a leader of the Sons of Liberty in New York and helped form the New York committee of correspondence to coordinate anti-British activity. With Isaac Sears he led (1775) a mob that seized the New York customhouse and another that captured the British arms at Turtle Bay in Manhattan. Lamb served in the Quebec campaign and in later battles. In 1784, he became collector of customs in New York City. Later he was one of the leaders of the opposition to the U.S. Constitution in New York.

See I. Q. Leake, Memoir of the Life and Times of General John Lamb (1850, repr. 1971).

Lamb, Willis Eugene, Jr., 1913-2008, American physicist, b. Los Angeles, Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1938. Lamb was a professor at Columbia (1938-51), Stanford (1951-56), Oxford (1956-62), Yale (1962-74), and the Univ. of Arizona (1974-2008). He shared the 1955 Nobel Prize in Physics with Polykarp Kusch for his discovery of a phenomenon called the Lamb shift, a small but measurable difference in electron energy levels within the hydrogen atom from what had been predicted theoretically by Paul Dirac. The discovery led physicists to reexamine the basic concepts behind applying quantum theory to electromagnetism, and became a foundation of quantum electrodynamics, a key piece of modern elementary particle physics.
lamb: see mutton; sheep.

Live sheep before the age of one year, and the flesh of such animals. The flesh of the mature ram or ewe at least one year old is called mutton; the meat of sheep 12–20 months old may be called yearling mutton. The meat of sheep 6–10 weeks old is usually sold as baby lamb, and spring lamb comes from sheep 5–6 months old. The primary lamb- and mutton-consuming countries (on a per capita basis) are New Zealand and Australia.

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(born Feb. 10, 1775, London, Eng.—died Dec. 27, 1834, Edmonton, Middlesex) English essayist and critic. Lamb was employed as a clerk at East India House (headquarters for the East India Company) from 1792 to 1825. From 1796 he was guardian of his sister, the writer Mary Lamb (1764–1847), who, in a fit of madness (which proved recurrent), had killed their mother. He is best known for the often autobiographical essays he wrote under the pseudonym Elia for London Magazine, collected in Essays of Elia (1823) and The Last Essays of Elia (1833). Among the greatest of English letter writers, he included some of his most perceptive literary criticism, often in the form of marginalia, in letters. He collaborated with Mary on Tales from Shakespear (1807), a highly popular retelling of the plays for children.

Learn more about Lamb, Charles with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Feb. 10, 1775, London, Eng.—died Dec. 27, 1834, Edmonton, Middlesex) English essayist and critic. Lamb was employed as a clerk at East India House (headquarters for the East India Company) from 1792 to 1825. From 1796 he was guardian of his sister, the writer Mary Lamb (1764–1847), who, in a fit of madness (which proved recurrent), had killed their mother. He is best known for the often autobiographical essays he wrote under the pseudonym Elia for London Magazine, collected in Essays of Elia (1823) and The Last Essays of Elia (1833). Among the greatest of English letter writers, he included some of his most perceptive literary criticism, often in the form of marginalia, in letters. He collaborated with Mary on Tales from Shakespear (1807), a highly popular retelling of the plays for children.

Learn more about Lamb, Charles with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal is the sixth novel by absurdist author Christopher Moore, published in 2002. In this work the author seeks to fill in the "lost" years of Jesus through the point of view of Jesus' childhood pal, "Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff".

The original edition of Lamb was issued in hardback and paperback and contains an afterword by the author explaining some of the background of the novel. In 2007 a special gift edition was published, with a second afterword by Moore, recollecting his trip to Israel for research.

According to the author, the producer-director Peter Douglas (with Vincent Pictures) has purchased the film rights to the novel.

Plot summary

Biff has been resurrected in the present day, to complete missing parts of the Bible. Supposedly under the watchful eye of the angel Raziel, who turns out to be more interested in the soap operas on the television in their hotel, Biff is made to write down his account of the decades missing from Jesus' life. During these years he and Joshua (which, as Biff points out, "Jesus" is the Greek version of, and thus in Galilee Jesus was called Joshua Bar Joseph) travel to the East to seek the Three Wise Men who attended Joshua's birth, so that he may learn how to become the Messiah.

Over a span of roughly twenty years, Joshua learns a great deal about human nature, and how he is able to translate that into his teachings. At each point, Joshua surpasses the Wise Men and their philosophy by incorporating his own beliefs into theirs. The story takes a fantastical twist on Joshua's miracles as well: he learns to multiply food from one of the Wise Men and learns to become invisible from another; however, his ability to resurrect the dead figures strongly into his first meeting with Biff when both boys are six years old. Biff, for himself, is sarcastic, practical and endlessly loyal. While it would seem that such traits, as well as the fact that he was the Messiah's best friend nearly thirty years, would ensure his place in the Gospels, there are reasons, as revealed in the final chapter, why Biff was essentially "cut out" of the story.

The recounting of Jesus' human and godlike qualities, combined with Biff's earthy debauchery, leads to its all-too-familiar tragic ending, but humorously explains many things: the origins of judo (a pun that is definitely intended), why Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas, and how rabbits became associated with Easter. The Three Wise Men, Mary Magdalene (on whom Biff has a childhood crush), Joseph, and Mary (Joshua's mother, whom Biff plans to marry if anything happens to Joseph) all have their part in the life and times of Joshua. Mary Magdalene, as in The Da Vinci Code, is depicted as harboring love for Joshua, though in Moore's version Joshua remains chaste on Raziel's instructions (This in itself leads to some of Biff's debauchery, as he is literally attempting to go through enough harlots for both of them). Biff himself loves "Maggie" with the same intensity, leading to a revolving love triangle.

When Joshua is facing execution, Biff attempts to cheat the Romans of their victim by having one of the women administer a death-simulating poison to his friend (via a sponge of sour wine), with an antidote to be provided post-burial. Unfortunately, an over-zealous legionnaire ruins everything by stabbing Joshua with a spear. Biff, enraged, chases down Judas and hangs him, and then kills himself in despair. After he finishes penning his Gospel, he is reunited with Maggie, resurrected for the same reason, to start a new life with her.

Literary allusions

The author has cited Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita -- particularly its Biblical scenes told from Pontius Pilate's point of view -- as a partial inspiration to create this novel. Other works referred to within the novel itself are the Kama Sutra, the Torah, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, the Tao Te Ching and, of course, the Gospels of the New Testament.

Relation to Moore's other novels

External links

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