Hazlitt Essays On The Past And The Future

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It does this by looking at William Hazlitt (1778–1830) and, more specifically, at Hazlitt’s assiduous echoing of Shakespeare in his personal essays.They mistake a momentary popularity for lasting renown, and a sanguine temperament for the inspiration of genius.The love of fame is too high and delicate a feeling in the mind to be mixed up with realities—it is a solitary abstraction, the secret sigh of the soul—“It is all one as we should love A bright particular star, and think to wed it.”A name “fast-anchored in the deep abyss of time” is like a star twinkling in the firmament, cold, silent, distant, but eternal and sublime; and our transmitting one to posterity is as if we should contemplate our translation to the skies.Hazlitt does not simply echo Shakespeare repeatedly, but he often quotes him or adapts his words, rarely citing him by name.The nature and function of these misquotations are key considerations in this essay, in which it is claimed that Hazlitt’s misquotations of Shakespeare are not simply errors but a signature element of an essayistic style marked by an echoing that recalls the well-known original—thus appealing to the relevance of that which is already known by his readers—while veering from it, over and over again, into new directions as a form of self-fashioning through style.L’essai personnel obéit traditionnellement à deux principes fondamentaux, qui peuvent sembler difficilement conciliables : la place centrale occupée par le sujet et une culture littéraire partagée.Cet article examine cette dynamique contradictoire : la force centripète qui ramène constamment le propos à la figure de l’essayiste et la force centrifuge qui le conduit à se faire l’écho d’une communauté d’écriture partagée.However, it is also a common characteristic of the personal essay that the essayist tends to be open to, and sometimes dependent on, a “shared literary culture” (Lopate 131), or what William H.Gass calls “the community of writers” (Gass 109) and essayists who have come before.De Quincey’s main complaint about Hazlitt’s derivative style is that he feels it is “dishonest” (De Quincey 136) “to express one’s own thoughts by another man’s words” (De Quincey 135).If the thought to be expressed is not powerful enough, De Quincey argues, then it should not be camouflaged by quoting others.

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