William Hazlitt (April 10, 1778 - September 18, 1830)
Born: 10th April, 1778
Died: 18th September, 1830
Nationality: English
Profession/Occupation: Critic
Region: Maidstone, England, London

William Hazlitt Facts

Biography

William Hazlitt, (born April 10, 1778, Maidstone, Kent, Eng.—died Sept. 18, 1830, Soho, London), English writer best known for his humanistic essays. Lacking conscious artistry or literary pretention, his writing is noted for the brilliant intellect it reveals.

Hazlitt’s childhood was spent in Ireland and North America, where his father, a Unitarian preacher, supported the American rebels. The family returned to England when William was nine, settling in Shropshire. At puberty the child became somewhat sullen and unapproachable, tendencies that persisted throughout his life. He read intensively, however, laying the foundation of his learning. Having some difficulty in expressing himself either in conversation or in writing, he turned to painting and in 1802 traveled to Paris to work in the Louvre, though war between England and France compelled his return the following year. His friends, who already included Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, encouraged his ambitions as a painter; yet in 1805 he turned to metaphysics and the study of philosophy that had attracted him earlier, publishing his first book, On the Principles of Human Action. In 1808 he married Sarah Stoddart, and the couple went to live at Winterslow on Salisbury Plain, which was to become Hazlitt’s favourite retreat for thinking and writing.

Although he successfully completed several literary projects, by the end of 1811 Hazlitt was penniless. He then gave a course of lectures in philosophy in London and began reporting for the Morning Chronicle, quickly establishing himself as critic, journalist, and essayist. His collected dramatic criticism appeared as A View of the English Stage in 1818. He also contributed to a number of journals, among them Leigh Hunt’s Examiner; this association led to the publication of The Round Table, 2 vol. (1817), 52 essays of which 40 were by Hazlitt. Also in 1817 Hazlitt published his Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays, which met with immediate approval in most quarters. He had, however, become involved in a number of quarrels, often with his friends, resulting from the forcible expression of his views in the journals. At the same time, he made new friends and admirers (among them Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats) and consolidated his reputation as a lecturer, delivering courses On the English Poets (published 1818) and On the English Comic Writers (published 1819), as well as publishing a collection of political essays. His volume entitled Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth was prepared during 1819, but thereafter he devoted himself to essays for various journals, notably John Scott’s London Magazine.

Hazlitt lived apart from his wife after the end of 1819, and they were divorced in 1822. He fell in love with the daughter of his London landlord, but the affair ended disastrously, and Hazlitt described his suffering in the strange Liber Amoris; or, The New Pygmalion (1823). Even so, many of his best essays were written during this difficult period and were collected in his two most famous books: Table Talk (1821) and The Plain Speaker (1826). Others were afterward edited by his son, William, as Sketches and Essays (1829), Literary Remains (1836), and Winterslow (1850) and by his biographer, P.P. Howe, as New Writings (1925–27). Hazlitt’s other works during this period of prolific output included Sketches of the Principal Picture Galleries in England (1824), with its celebrated essay on the Dulwich gallery.

In April 1824 Hazlitt married a widow named Bridgwater. But the new wife was resented by his son, whom Hazlitt adored, and the couple separated after three years. Part of this second marriage was spent abroad, an experience recorded in Notes of a Journey in France and Italy (1826). In France he began an ambitious but not very successful Life of Napoleon, 4 vol. (1828–30), and in 1825 he published some of his most effective writing in The Spirit of the Age. His last book, Conversations of James Northcote (1830), recorded his long friendship with that eccentric painter.

Hazlitt’s Complete Works, in 13 volumes, appeared in 1902–06, to be reissued, edited by P.P. Howe, in 21 volumes in 1930–34.

Top 127 William Hazlitt quotes

Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater.
Adversity
Great
Great teacher
Greater
Prosperity
Teacher
If we wish to know the force of human genius, we should read Shakespeare. If we wish to see the insignificance of human learning, we may study his commentators.
Force
Genius
His
Human
Insignificance
Know
Learning
May
Read
See
Shakespeare
Should
Study
Wish
It is better to be able neither to read nor write than to be able to do nothing else.
Able
Better
Else
Neither
Nor
Nothing
Read
Than
Write
Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.
Books
Lay
Let us
Open
Our
Own
Secrets
Souls
Us
Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.
Life
Poetry
Remembering
Worth
Prejudice is the child of ignorance.
Child
Ignorance
Prejudice
As is our confidence, so is our capacity.
Capacity
Confidence
Our
The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.
Liberty
Love
Others
Ourselves
Power
To be happy, we must be true to nature and carry our age along with us.
Age
Along
Be happy
Be true
Carry
Happy
Must
Nature
Our
True
Us
Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, and discovering other people's weaknesses.
Art
Concealing
Cunning
Defects
Discovering
Other
Our
Own
People
Weaknesses
One shining quality lends a lustre to another, or hides some glaring defect.
Another
Defect
Hides
Lends
Quality
Shining
Some
That which is not, shall never be; that which is, shall never cease to be. To the wise, these truths are self-evident.
Cease
Never
Self-evident
Shall
Truths
Which
Wise
Fame is the inheritance not of the dead, but of the living. It is we who look back with lofty pride to the great names of antiquity.
Antiquity
Back
Dead
Fame
Great
Inheritance
Living
Lofty
Look
Names
Pride
Who
The perfect joys of heaven do not satisfy the cravings of nature.
Heaven
Joys
Nature
Perfect
Satisfy
Learning is its own exceeding great reward.
Exceeding
Great
Great reward
Learning
Own
Reward
The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much.
Art
Endure
Enjoy
How
Know
Life
Little
Much
Very
Those who speak ill of the spiritual life, although they come and go by day, are like the smith's bellows: they take breath but are not alive.
Alive
Although
Breath
Come
Come and go
Day
Go
Ill
Life
Like
Smith
Speak
Spiritual
Spiritual life
A wise traveler never despises his own country.
Country
Despises
His
Never
Own
Traveler
Wise
It is not fit that every man should travel; it makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.
Better
Every
Every man
Fit
Fool
Makes
Man
Should
Travel
Wise
Wise man
Worse
A hair in the head is worth two in the brush.
Brush
Hair
Head
Two
Worth
If you give an audience a chance they will do half your acting for you.
Acting
Audience
Chance
Give
Half
Will
You
Your
Everything is in motion. Everything flows. Everything is vibrating.
Everything
Flows
Motion
Zeal will do more than knowledge.
Knowledge
More
Than
Will
Zeal
If I have not read a book before, it is, for all intents and purposes, new to me whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years ago.
Before
Book
Hundred
Hundred years
Me
New
Printed
Purposes
Read
Three
Whether
Years
Years ago
Yesterday
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.
Animal
Between
Difference
He
Laughs
Man
Only
Ought
Struck
Things
Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts.
Acts
Become
Great
Practice
Reduced
Thoughts
The truly proud man knows neither superiors or inferiors. The first he does not admit of - the last he does not concern himself about.
About
Admit
Concern
Does
First
He
Himself
Inferiors
Knows
Last
Man
Neither
Proud
Proud man
Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.
Conversation
Food
Salt
Wit
Genius, like humanity, rusts for want of use.
Genius
Humanity
Like
Use
Want
He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.
Afraid
Enemies
Friends
He
Making
Never
True
True friends
Who
Will
I like a friend the better for having faults that one can talk about.
About
Better
Faults
Friend
Having
Like
Talk
Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves, will, in general, become of no more value than their dress.
Become
Dress
General
Make
More
Part
Principal
Than
Themselves
Those
Value
Who
Will
Envy among other ingredients has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good-fortune.
Among
Angry
Deserved
Envy
Ingredients
Justice
Love
Mixture
More
Other
Than
Undeserved
The way to get on in the world is to be neither more nor less wise, neither better nor worse than your neighbours.
Better
Get
Less
More
Neighbours
Neither
Nor
Than
Way
Wise
World
Worse
Your
Some one is generally sure to be the sufferer by a joke.
Generally
Joke
Some
Sure
We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
Eyes
Hearts
Nature
Our
See
It is hard for any one to be an honest politician who is not born and bred a Dissenter.
Any
Born
Bred
Hard
Honest
Politician
Who
You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.
Conjecture
Descriptions
Having
Know
More
Road
Than
Traveled
World
You
The person whose doors I enter with most pleasure, and quit with most regret, never did me the smallest favor.
Did
Doors
Enter
Favor
Me
Most
Never
Person
Pleasure
Quit
Regret
Smallest
Whose
A grave blockhead should always go about with a lively one - they show one another off to the best advantage.
About
Advantage
Always
Another
Best
Blockhead
Go
Grave
Lively
Off
Should
Show
Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
Been
Defined
Expression
Grace
Harmony
Has-been
Inward
Outward
Soul
Grace in women has more effect than beauty.
Beauty
Effect
Grace
More
Than
Women
If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory.
Faith
Necessary
Think
Victory
Win
You
Though familiarity may not breed contempt, it takes off the edge of admiration.
Admiration
Breed
Contempt
Edge
Familiarity
May
Off
Takes
Though
The public have neither shame or gratitude.
Gratitude
Neither
Public
Shame
No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history.
Great
Greatness
His
History
Lifetime
Man
Only
Page
Test
Truly
Who
We can scarcely hate anyone that we know.
Anyone
Hate
Know
Scarcely
Hope is the best possession. None are completely wretched but those who are without hope. Few are reduced so low as that.
Best
Few
Hope
Low
None
Possession
Reduced
Those
Who
Without
Wretched
No truly great person ever thought themselves so.
Ever
Great
Great person
Person
Themselves
Thought
Truly
Those who can command themselves command others.
Command
Others
Themselves
Those
Who

William Hazlitt books

Selected Writings (Oxford World's Classics)

Selected Writings (Oxford World's Classics)

Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

The Fight and Other Writings (Penguin Classics)

The Fight and Other Writings (Penguin Classics)

On the Pleasure of Hating

On the Pleasure of Hating

Hazlitt on English Literature An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature

Hazlitt on English Literature An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature

William Hazlitt: The First Modern Man

William Hazlitt: The First Modern Man

The Plain Speaker: The Key Essays (Blackwell Anthologies)

The Plain Speaker: The Key Essays (Blackwell Anthologies)

Sobre el ingenio y el humor

Sobre el ingenio y el humor

The Letters of William Hazlitt (The Gotham library of the New York University Press)

The Letters of William Hazlitt (The Gotham library of the New York University Press)

The Collected Works of William Hazlitt

The Collected Works of William Hazlitt

The Collected Works of William Hazlitt: The Plain Speaker. Essay On the Principles of Human Action, Etc

The Collected Works of William Hazlitt: The Plain Speaker. Essay On the Principles of Human Action, Etc

William Hazlitt essays

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William Hazlitt Essay
Money isn't anything, but for The english language writer William Hazlitt that saying couldn't be a greater distance from the real truth. The essay he has chosen to create is a list of contradictions given to show the audience why the true purpose is obviously is funds. Hazlitt conveys his ideas on money to persuade others that funds is everything. To persuade his reader this individual uses certain syntax, tone and diction to convey this message.Bill Hazlitt commences his passing with proclaiming "literally and truly, one particular cannot can get on well in the world without..
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