Hazlitt's most important works are often divided into two categories: literary criticism and familiar essays. Of his literary criticism Hazlitt wrote, "I say what I think: I think what I feel. I cannot help receiving certain impressions from things; and I have sufficient courage to declare (somewhat abruptly) what they are." Representative of his critical style is (1817), which contains subjective, often panegyrical commentary on such individual characters as Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet. This work introduces Hazlitt's concept of "gusto," a term he used to refer to qualities of passion and energy that he considered necessary to great art. In accord with his impressionistic approach to literature, Hazlitt's concept of gusto also suggests that a passionate and energetic response is the principal criterion for gauging whether or not a work achieves greatness. Hazlitt felt that Shakespeare's sonnets lacked gusto and judged them as passionless and unengaging despite the "desperate cant of modern criticism." Hazlitt was no less opinionated on the works of his contemporaries. In the final section of (1812) he criticized Coleridge and Wordsworth, whose emphasis on nature and the common aspects of life acknowledged, in his view, "no excellence but that which supports its own pretensions." In addition to literature, Hazlitt also focused on drama and art in his critical essays, many of which are collected in (1818) and (1824).
The radical, early-19th-century essayist died in poverty in a Soho lodging house, aged 52, his reputation in tatters, his stomach riddled with cancer, and with two broken marriages behind him. Eager to let his room again forthwith, his landlady even hid his body under the bed as she showed around would-be, new tenants. Judging by his last words, however, Hazlitt had died content – after a decent life’s work.
William Hazlitt Quotes - BrainyQuote
Description : William Hazlitt (1778-1830) developed a variety of identities as a writer: essayist, philosopher, critic of literature, drama and art, biographer, political commentator, and polemicist. Praised for his eloquence, he was also reviled by conservatives for his radical politics. This edition, thematically organized for ease of access, contains some of his best-known essays, such as "The Indian Jugglers" and "The Fight," as well as more obscure pieces on politics, philosophy, and culture.
Description : Romanticism is where the modern age begins, and Hazlitt was its most articulate spokesman. No one else had the ability to see it whole; no one else knew so many of its politicians, poets, and philosophers. By interpreting it for his contemporaries, he speaks to us of ourselves - of the culture and world we now inhabit. Perhaps the most important development of his time, the creation of a mass media, is one that now dominates our lives. Hazlitt's livelihoo was dependent on it. As the biography argues, he took political sketch-writing to a new level, invented sports commentary as we know it, and created the essay-form as practised by Clive James, Gore Vidal, and Michael Foot. Duncan Wu's profile of one of the greatest journalists in the language draws on over a decade of archival research in libraries across Britain and North America, to reveal for the first time such matters as why Godwin broke with Hazlitt; how Hazlitt came to know Sir John Soane and J. M. W. Turner; the true nature of Hazlitt's dealings with Thomas Medwin, and what the likes of Joseph Farington and Sir Thomas Lawrence thought of him. In addition, it sheds new light on Hazlitt's dealings with such figures as Francis Jeffrey, Robert Stodart, John M'Creery, Henry Crabb Robinson, Joseph Parkes, John Cam Hobhouse, and Stendhal. It benefits also from Wu's New Writings of William Hazlitt, many of which make their appearance here, illuminating hitherto obscure passages of Hazlitt's life.Description : Hazlitt is one of the greatest masters of English prose style and this new selection demonstrates the variety and richness of his writing. The volume includes classic pieces of drama and literature criticism, such as his essays on Shakespeare and Coleridge, as well as less well-known material from his social and political journalism. This collection encourages the reader to reconsider the nature of critical writing, which Hazlitt transforms into an art form.