William Hazlitt was born , on April 10, 1778 and was the son of the Reverend William Hazlitt, a Unitarian minister. He was a writer, thinker and art critic, and is today considered as one of the greatest critics and essayists in the history of the English language.
6 Facts about William Hazlitt
- He was a drama criticic for the Morning Chronicle and for the Examiner and the London Magazine.
- In 1802 he lived in Paris for 4 months, studying painting in the Louvre
- On May 1, 1808, he married Sarah Stoddart , whom he divorced in 1819
- In January 1812 Hazlitt started giving lectures at the Russell Institution in London. His main talks were on British philosophers.
- William Hazlitt was buried in the churchyard of St Anne’s Church, Soho in London on 23 September 1830
- One of Soho’s fashionable hotels is named after the writer.
William Hazlitt’s Top Quotes
Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.
To be capable of steady friendship or lasting love, are the two greatest proofs, not only of goodness of heart, but of strength of mind.
The characteristic of Chaucer is intensity: of Spencer, remoteness: of Milton elevation and of Shakespeare everything.
I should on this account like well enough to spend the whole of my life in travelling abroad, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterwards at home.
Learning is, in too many cases, but a foil to common sense; a substitute for true knowledge. Books are less often made use of as ”spectacles” to look at nature with, than as blinds to keep out its strong light and shifting scenery from weak eyes and indolent dispositions. The learned are mere literary drudges.
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.
Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.
Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
The smallest pain in our little finger gives us more concern than the destruction of millions of our fellow beings.
We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
The person whose doors I enter with most pleasure, and quit with most regret, never did me the smallest favor.
We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.
Learning is the knowledge of that which is not generally known to others, and which we can only derive at second-hand from books or other artificial sources. The knowledge of that which is before us, or about us, which appeals to our experience, passions, and pursuits, to the bosom and businesses of men, is not learning. Learning is the knowledge of that which none but the learned know.
We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.
There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you.
The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.
Travel’s greatest purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.
That humanity and sincerity which dispose men to resist injustice and tyranny render them unfit to cope with the cunning and power of those who are opposed to them. The friends of liberty trust to the professions of others because they are themselves sincere, and endeavour to secure the public good with the least possible hurt to its enemies, who have no regard to anything but their own unprincipled ends, and stick at nothing to accomplish them.
There are some persons who never succeed from being too indolent to undertake anything; and others who regularly fail, because the instant they find success in their power, they grow indifferent, and give over the attempt.
The multitude who require to be led, still hate their leaders.
Anyone who has passed through the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape.
Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, and discovering the weaknesses of others.
A taste for liberal art is necessary to complete the character of a gentleman, Science alone is hard and mechanical. It exercises the understanding upon things out of ourselves, while it leaves the affections unemployed, or engrossed with our own immediate, narrow interests.
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.
It is well that there is no one without a fault; for he would not have a friend in the world. He would seem to belong to a different species.
Genius not only diagnoses the situation but supplies the answers.
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.
Men are in numberless instances qualified for certain things, for no other reason than because they are qualified for nothing else.
The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves. We cannot force love.