1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hazlitt

Leigh Hunt to Mary Shelley, 11 July 1821; Correspondence of Leigh Hunt (1862) 1:166.



You may have heard also that Hazlitt, after his usual fashion towards those whom he likes, and gets impatient with, has been attacking Shelley, myself, and everybody else, the public included, though there his liking stops. I wrote him an angry letter about S. — the first one I ever did; and I believe he is sorry: but this is his way. He says that Shelley provokes him by his going to a "pernicious" extreme on the liberal side, and so hurting it. I asked him what good he would do the said side by publicly abusing the supporters of it, and caricaturing them? To this, he answers nothing. I told him I would not review his book, as I must quarrel with him publicly if I did so, and so hurt the cause further. Besides, I was not going to give publicity to his outrages. I was sorry for it on every account, because I really believe Hazlitt to be a disinterested and suffering man, who feels public calamities as other men do private ones; and this is perpetually redeeming him in my eyes. I told him so, as well as some other things; but you shall see our correspondence by and by.