William Hazlitt quotes

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William Hazlitt

Birthdate: 10. April 1778
Date of death: 18. September 1830
Other names: 威廉·赫茲利特

William Hazlitt was an English essayist, drama and literary critic, painter, social commentator, and philosopher. He is now considered one of the greatest critics and essayists in the history of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. He is also acknowledged as the finest art critic of his age. Despite his high standing among historians of literature and art, his work is currently little read and mostly out of print.During his lifetime he befriended many people who are now part of the 19th-century literary canon, including Charles and Mary Lamb, Stendhal, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and John Keats. Wikipedia

Photo: John Hazlitt, Art UK / Public domain

Works

The Round Table
The Round Table
William Hazlitt
The Spirit of the Age
William Hazlitt

„There is, however, no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice. For this last implies not only the practical conviction that it is right, but the theoretical assumption that it cannot be wrong.“

—  William Hazlitt, book The Round Table

"On the Tendency of Sects"
The Round Table (1815-1817)
Context: There is a natural tendency in sects to narrow the mind.
The extreme stress laid upon difierences of minor importance, to the neglect of more general truths and broader views of things, gives an inverted bias to the understanding; and this bias is continually increased by the eagerness of controversy, and captious hostility to the prevailing system. A party-feeling of this kind once formed will insensibly communicate itself to other topics; and will be too apt to lead its votaries to a contempt for the opinions of others, a jealousy of every difference of sentiment, and a disposition to arrogate all sound principle as well as understanding to themselves, and those who think with them. We can readily conceive how such persons, from fixing too high a value on the practical pledge which they have given of the independence and sincerity of their opinions, come at last to entertain a suspicion of every one else as acting under the shackles of prejudice or the mask of hypocrisy. All those who have not given in their unqualified protest against received doctrines and established authority, are supposed to labour under an acknowledged incapacity to form a rational determination on any subject whatever. Any argument, not having the presumption of singularity in its favour, is immediately set aside as nugatory. There is, however, no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice. For this last implies not only the practical conviction that it is right, but the theoretical assumption that it cannot be wrong. From considering all objections as in this manner "null and void,” the mind becomes so thoroughly satisfied with its own conclusions, as to render any farther examination of them superfluous, and confounds its exclusive pretensions to reason with the absolute possession of it.

„A party-feeling of this kind once formed will insensibly communicate itself to other topics; and will be too apt to lead its votaries to a contempt for the opinions of others, a jealousy of every difference of sentiment, and a disposition to arrogate all sound principle as well as understanding to themselves, and those who think with them.“

—  William Hazlitt, book The Round Table

"On the Tendency of Sects"
The Round Table (1815-1817)
Context: There is a natural tendency in sects to narrow the mind.
The extreme stress laid upon difierences of minor importance, to the neglect of more general truths and broader views of things, gives an inverted bias to the understanding; and this bias is continually increased by the eagerness of controversy, and captious hostility to the prevailing system. A party-feeling of this kind once formed will insensibly communicate itself to other topics; and will be too apt to lead its votaries to a contempt for the opinions of others, a jealousy of every difference of sentiment, and a disposition to arrogate all sound principle as well as understanding to themselves, and those who think with them. We can readily conceive how such persons, from fixing too high a value on the practical pledge which they have given of the independence and sincerity of their opinions, come at last to entertain a suspicion of every one else as acting under the shackles of prejudice or the mask of hypocrisy. All those who have not given in their unqualified protest against received doctrines and established authority, are supposed to labour under an acknowledged incapacity to form a rational determination on any subject whatever. Any argument, not having the presumption of singularity in its favour, is immediately set aside as nugatory. There is, however, no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice. For this last implies not only the practical conviction that it is right, but the theoretical assumption that it cannot be wrong. From considering all objections as in this manner "null and void,” the mind becomes so thoroughly satisfied with its own conclusions, as to render any farther examination of them superfluous, and confounds its exclusive pretensions to reason with the absolute possession of it.

„He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.“

—  William Hazlitt

Lectures on the English Poets http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16209/16209.txt (1818), Lecture I, "On Poetry in General"
Context: 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.

„There is a natural tendency in sects to narrow the mind.“

—  William Hazlitt, book The Round Table

"On the Tendency of Sects"
The Round Table (1815-1817)
Context: There is a natural tendency in sects to narrow the mind.
The extreme stress laid upon difierences of minor importance, to the neglect of more general truths and broader views of things, gives an inverted bias to the understanding; and this bias is continually increased by the eagerness of controversy, and captious hostility to the prevailing system. A party-feeling of this kind once formed will insensibly communicate itself to other topics; and will be too apt to lead its votaries to a contempt for the opinions of others, a jealousy of every difference of sentiment, and a disposition to arrogate all sound principle as well as understanding to themselves, and those who think with them. We can readily conceive how such persons, from fixing too high a value on the practical pledge which they have given of the independence and sincerity of their opinions, come at last to entertain a suspicion of every one else as acting under the shackles of prejudice or the mask of hypocrisy. All those who have not given in their unqualified protest against received doctrines and established authority, are supposed to labour under an acknowledged incapacity to form a rational determination on any subject whatever. Any argument, not having the presumption of singularity in its favour, is immediately set aside as nugatory. There is, however, no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice. For this last implies not only the practical conviction that it is right, but the theoretical assumption that it cannot be wrong. From considering all objections as in this manner "null and void,” the mind becomes so thoroughly satisfied with its own conclusions, as to render any farther examination of them superfluous, and confounds its exclusive pretensions to reason with the absolute possession of it.

„The only vice which cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.“

—  William Hazlitt

No. 257
Characteristics, in the manner of Rochefoucauld's Maxims (1823)
Source: Selected Essays, 1778-1830

„He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.“

—  William Hazlitt

No. 401
Characteristics, in the manner of Rochefoucauld's Maxims (1823)
Source: Selected Essays, 1778-1830

„Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.“

—  William Hazlitt

"The Sick Chamber," The New Monthly Magazine (August 1830), reprinted in Essays of William Hazlitt, selected and edited by Frank Carr (London, 1889)
Source: Essays of William Hazlitt: Selected and Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by Frank Carr

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„The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.“

—  William Hazlitt

"Common Places," No. 1, The Literary Examiner (September - December 1823), reprinted in The Collected Works of William Hazlitt (1902-1904)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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