Lectures on the English Poets

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William Hazlitt (1778-1830) was an English writer remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, often esteemed the greatest English literary critic after Samuel Johnson. Indeed, Hazlitt's writings and remarks on Shakespeare's plays and characters are rivaled only by those of Johnson in their depth, insight, originality, and imagination. Hazlitt came of Irish Protestant stock, and of a branch of it which moved in the reign of George I from the county of Antrim to Tipperary. In 1798 Hazlitt was introduced to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. He published several volumes of essays, including The Round Table and Characters of Shakespeare's Plays, both in 1817. His best-known work is The Spirit of the Age (1825), a collection of portraits of his contemporaries, including Lamb, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Jeremy Bentham, and Sir Walter Scott.

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About the author (2007)

William Hazlitt was born on April 10, 1778 in Maidstone, England. As a young man, he studied for the ministry at Hackney College in London, but eventually realized that he wasn't committed to becoming a minister. After he lacked success as a portrait painter, he turned to writing. His first book, An Essay on the Principles of Human Action, was published in 1805. His other works include Free Thoughts on Public Affairs, Round Table, Table Talk, Spirit of the Age, Characters of Shakespeare, A View of the English Stage, English Poets, English Comic Writers, Political Essays with Sketches of Public Characters, Plain Speaker, and The Life of Napoleon. He died of stomach cancer on September 18, 1830.

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