1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hazlitt

Mary Russell Mitford to Sir William Elford, 4 December 1819; L'Estrange, Life of Mary Russell Mitford (1870) 1:321-22.



By the way, I never hear you talk of Hazlitt. Did you never read any of his works? Never read The Round Table? the Characters of Shakespeare's Plays? the Lectures on English Poetry? or the Lectures on the English Comic Writers? The Quarterly Reviewers give him a bad character, but that merely regards politics, and politics ought not to weigh in works of general literature. I am sure you would like them; they are so exquisitely entertaining, so original, so free from every sort of critical shackle; the style is so delightfully piquant, so sparkling, so glittering, so tasteful, so condensed; the images and illustrations come in such rich and graceful profusion that one seems like Aladdin in the magic garden, where the leaves were emeralds, the flowers sapphires, and the fruit topazes and rubies. Do read some of the lectures. You will not agree with half Mr. Hazlitt's opinions, neither do I, but you will be very much entertained.