William Hazlitt Biography
(English Writer & Literary Critic)
Birthday: April 10, 1778 (Aries)
Born In: Maidstone, Kent, England
William Hazlitt is considered as one of the greatest literary critics and essayists. He was also a painter, philosopher and social commentator. He is recognized as the best art critic of the Romantic period. Hazlitt was a political liberal and wrote expressive defenses of the ideas of the French Revolution. His father was a sympathizer of the American struggle for independence. Hazlitt inherited liberal views from his father. Even though he was not entirely devoid of political prejudices himself, he attacked the politically conservative works of the Lake Poets. He has left a vivid account of his meeting with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and how he taught Hazlitt the gospel of revolution. His writing style was simple, colloquial and insightful without any literary pretension. His works cannot be classified into a single school of criticism. His essays followed the trend of ‘familiar’ essays, i.e. essays which used the model of common conversation to discuss matters of human experiences. The topics of William Hazlitt’s essays ranged from such specialized topics as Milton’s sonnets or Sir Joshua Reynold’s ‘Discourses’ to his fondness for old books. His literary pieces gave the readers a lens through which the compositions of his Romantic contemporaries can be seen.