Catalogue

COVID-19: Updates on library services and operations.

William Hazlitt : the first modern man /
Duncan Wu.
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2008.
description
xxvi, 557 p., [9] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
9780199549580 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
series title
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2008.
isbn
9780199549580 (acid-free paper)
contents note
Part I: The road to Nether Stowey -- Part II: Beyond Xanadu -- Part III: A philosopher in Grub Street -- Part IV: The plain speaker -- Part V: The new pygmalion -- Part VI: Mr. Hazlitt's grand tour -- Part VII: London solitude.
local note
Victoria University Library copy (Blake no. 2354A) is author's inscribed presentation copy to G.E. Bentley.
catalogue key
6644704
 
Gift to Victoria University Library (Blake no. 2354A). Bentley, G.E., Jr. 2011/10/05.
Gift to Victoria University Library. Jackson, Heather. 2008/10/30.
Includes bibliographical references (p. [442]-535) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-12-01:
Wu (English, Georgetown Univ.), the editor of The Selected Writings of William Hazlitt and New Writings of Hazlitt, is well qualified to write this biography of the essayist and critic. Hazlitt (1778-1830) knew great authors and artists of the Romantic period, including William Wordsworth, John Keats, Charles and Mary Lamb, J.M.W. Turner, and Leigh Hunt. Wu hopes that his biography will save Hazlitt from the lasting effects of the devastating criticisms that have stuck to him long after his death. Hazlitt had strong opinions about colleagues, enemies, and even friends, but he was consistent in his beliefs and principles, especially his hatred of the monarchy and Tories and his love of revolutionary movements. Despite the plethora of endnotes, this book is written in an entertaining style, with liberal quotations from Hazlitt's essays, criticism, and letters. Though there are other biographies of Hazlitt (notably Stanley Jones's Hazlitt: A Life), Wu's effort benefits from newly discovered documents and his passionate defense of his subject. This should be the standard by which all future biographies will be judged; recommended for academic libraries and larger public library collections.-Morris Hounion, N.Y.C. Technical Coll. Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-11-24:
If this workmanlike biography, by the editor of the two-volume New Writings of William Hazlitt, does not live up to the expansive promise of its subtitle, it nonetheless extends a welcome new hand to a transitional figure of the romantic age. Wu admirably reveals his subject's faults and virtues at every point of a crowded life. Always hard up for cash, and often considering himself a failure in the eyes of his Unitarian minister father, Hazlitt (1788-1830) was generally celebrated as a journalist and prose stylist by his contemporaries. He was also an exceptional philosopher and painter. Among his intimates, Hazlitt counted Dorothy and William Wordsworth, Coleridge, Bryon and Keats, Charles Lamb and Robert Southey. Hazlitt was a passionate lover of many women and frequent brothel visitor, all of which doomed his marriage to a wealthy woman from the start. He was also done in by an understandably suspicious brother-in-law. Hazlitt has been more fortunate in his modern critics, among them Somerset Maugham and Virginia Woolf. As Wu notes, Hazlitt's modernity depends on his penetrating grasp of psychology and on his place as "the father of modern literary criticism." 30 b&w illus. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2009-06-01:
Hazlitt's short life (1778-1830) was sad, stormy, and riddled with conflict. He died penniless and lonely, his reputation scarred by sexual scandal. Until well after WW II, he was read primarily as an essayist dealing with everyday life. And then things changed radically. Suddenly the astonishing range and intellectual depth of Hazlitt's work thrust him into the forefront of original thinkers about painting, poetry, drama, politics, and much else. Wu (Georgetown Univ.; formerly Oxford Univ., UK) is surely the world's foremost Hazlitt scholar. He has edited a dozen volumes of Hazlitt's essays, some collected for the first time, and was a founding member and president of the Hazlitt Society. Here he crowns a brilliant career with a superb biography of Hazlitt that supersedes all previous ones and will be read for generations. Hazlitt was an intimate of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lamb, and many of the major figures in politics and the arts, and in discussing these connections Wu reveals his instincts to be those of a born novelist. Almost every page is absorbing. The "characters" of this lavishly illustrated book live, and the world of the late 18th and early 19th centuries comes alive with a rare vividness. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. N. Fruman emeritus, University of Minnesota
Reviews
Review Quotes
A much needed concise, clear and readable account.
"A much needed concise, clear and readable account." - The Independent "An exceptional study." -- Times Higher Education Supplement "Wu's biography is, like its subject, passionately partisan, and throws objectivity to the winds."-- Sunday Times
A winning combination of scholarly rigour and narrative panache.
bracing, deft, chancy'
'Duncan Wu's major biography of William Hazlitt insists on Hazlitt's central importance as a critic who is one of the greatest of English prose stylists. Here we can see, freshly and uniquely, the sometimes tortured life out of which the supreme essays came. 'Tom Paulin
"Fun to read."-- The New Yorker "Excellent biography of the criticWu's splendidly detailed portrait could scarcely be more timely."-- arper's "Wu's finely attuned to his subject's qualities and sympathetic to the many personal, professional, and religious struggles that so complicated Hazlitt's tumultuous life."-- The Atlantic "A broad, persuasive argument, an astonishingly detailed account of Hazlitt's life...We sink into Hazlitt's world itself."-Saul Rosenberg, The Wall Street Journal "A distinctly eye-opening biography."- Washingtonpost.com "This book is written in an entertaining style, with liberal quotations from Hazlitt's essays, criticism, and lettersWu's effort benefits from newly discovered documents and his passionate defense of his subject. This should be the standard by which all future biographies will be judged."- Library Journal "Wu admirably reveals his subject's faults and virtues at every point of a crowded life."- Publishers Weekly "A much needed concise, clear and readable account." - The Independent "An eminently clear, readable and altogether available account of Hazlitt's life, based on staggeringly impressive research. Read it, by all means."-- The Wordsworth Circle "An exceptional study." -- Times Higher Education Supplement "Wu's biography is, like its subject, passionately partisan, and throws objectivity to the winds."-- Sunday Times
"Fun to read."--The New Yorker "Excellent biography of the criticWu's splendidly detailed portrait could scarcely be more timely."--arper's "Wu's finely attuned to his subject's qualities and sympathetic to the many personal, professional, and religious struggles that so complicated Hazlitt's tumultuous life."--The Atlantic "A broad, persuasive argument, an astonishingly detailed account of Hazlitt's life...We sink into Hazlitt's world itself."-Saul Rosenberg,The Wall Street Journal "A distinctly eye-opening biography."-Washingtonpost.com "This book is written in an entertaining style, with liberal quotations from Hazlitt's essays, criticism, and lettersWu's effort benefits from newly discovered documents and his passionate defense of his subject. This should be the standard by which all future biographies will be judged."-LibraryJournal "Wu admirably reveals his subject's faults and virtues at every point of a crowded life."-Publishers Weekly "A much needed concise, clear and readable account." -The Independent "An eminently clear, readable and altogether available account of Hazlitt's life, based on staggeringly impressive research. Read it, by all means."--The Wordsworth Circle "An exceptional study." --Times Higher Education Supplement "Wu's biography is, like its subject, passionately partisan, and throws objectivity to the winds."--Sunday Times
I greatly enjoyed this major new biography...an exceptional study.
'I have been absolutely delighted by Duncan Wu's new biography, which places the essayist in context and provides a fresh, readable introduction to his life and works. He has managed also to present countless new perspectives and revelations along the way. 'Michael Foot
'plenty to savour'
The biography gives us an excellent sense of the range of Hazlitt's commitments and contacts.
This biography is a fluent and impassioned defence of Hazlitt against his detractors.
This is a tanalising and revealing picture of William Hazlitt.
"Wu admirably reveals his subject's faults and virtues at every point of a crowded life."-Publishers Weekly "A much needed concise, clear and readable account." - The Independent "An exceptional study." -- Times Higher Education Supplement "Wu's biography is, like its subject, passionately partisan, and throws objectivity to the winds."-- Sunday Times
Wu is the foremost authority on Hazlitt and makes a worthwhile case for Hazlitt as an essayist very much superior to Lamb and De Quincey.
Wu's biography is, like its subject, passionately partisan.
Wu's detective work generally provides dividends...the biography gives us an excellent sense of the range of Hazlitt's commitment and contacts.
'This is a tantalising and revealing picture of William Hazlitt'The Irish Times'Duncan Wu's major biography of William Hazlitt insists on Hazlitt's central importance as a critic who is one of the greatest of English prose stylists. Here we can see, freshly and uniquely, the sometimes tortured life out of which the supreme essays came.'Tom Paulin'I have been absolutely delighted by Duncan Wu's new biography, which places the essayist in context and provides a fresh, readable introduction to his life and works. He has managed also to present countless new perspectives and revelations along the way.'Michael Foot
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, November 2008
Library Journal, December 2008
Wall Street Journal, January 2009
Washington Post, January 2009
Choice, June 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Duncan Wu's portrait of William Hazlitt - covering Hazlitt's entire life - reveals one of the greatest journalists in the language, and the principal spokesman of the Romantic age, interacting with every major writer and many other movers and shakers of the era.
Main Description
Romanticism is where the modern age began - and we're absolutely obsessed with it - hence the fascination with Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, and Lord Byron. Well, Hazlitt was at the centre of it. He knew virtually every major writer of the time, not to mention many politicians, businessmen, architects, and artists. This completely new biography is the first fully-researched biography to cover his entire life, to reveal the way in which Hazlitt not onlyinteracted with the movers and shakers of his era, but interpreted the times for his contemporaries and for us. It might be said that to fully understand the Romantics is to understand ourselves, and where we have come from. Duncan Wu's new biography reveals its principal spokesman, his virtues and vicesintact.
Main Description
Romanticism is where the modern age begins, and Hazlitt was its most articulate spokesman. No one else had the ability to see it whole; no one else knew so many of its politicians, poets, and philosophers. By interpreting it for his contemporaries, he speaks to us of ourselves - of the cultureand world we now inhabit. Perhaps the most important development of his time, the creation of a mass media, is one that now dominates our lives. Hazlitt's livelihoo was dependent on it. As the biography argues, he took political sketch-writing to a new level, invented sports commentary as we knowit, and created the essay-form as practised by Clive James, Gore Vidal, and Michael Foot. Duncan Wu's profile of one of the greatest journalists in the language draws on over a decade of archival research in libraries across Britain and North America, to reveal for the first time such matters as why Godwin broke with Hazlitt; how Hazlitt came to know Sir John Soane and J. M. W. Turner;the true nature of Hazlitt's dealings with Thomas Medwin, and what the likes of Joseph Farington and Sir Thomas Lawrence thought of him. In addition, it sheds new light on Hazlitt's dealings with such figures as Francis Jeffrey, Robert Stodart, John M'Creery, Henry Crabb Robinson, Joseph Parkes,John Cam Hobhouse, and Stendhal. It benefits also from Wu's New Writings of William Hazlitt, many of which make their appearance here, illuminating hitherto obscure passages of Hazlitt's life.
Main Description
Romanticism is where the modern age begins, and Hazlitt was its most articulate spokesman. No one else had the ability to see it whole; no one else knew so many of its politicians, poets, and philosophers. In this first full biography, Duncan Wu draws upon over a decade of archival research to explore all aspects of Hazlitt's life, from his early aspirations to become a painter, his engagement with revolutionary politics, his rise to prominence as one of England's greatest literary critics, and the disillusionment and poverty of his final years. Along the way, Wu reveals countless new details concerning Hazlitt's relationships with Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, William Godwin, J. M. W. Turner, and other important figures of the Romantic era. But Wu sees Hazlitt as an essentially modern writer who took political sketch-writing to a new level, invented sports commentary as we know it, and created the essay-form as it is practiced in our own time. Painstakingly researched and filled with original insight, this biography benefits also from Wu's New Writings of William Hazlitt , many of which make their appearance here, illuminating obscure passages of Hazlitt's life.
Table of Contents
Introduction
Prologue
The Road to Nether Stowey
Beyond Xanadu
A Philosopher in Grub Street
The Plain Speaker
The New Pygmalion
Mr Hazlitt's Grand Tour
London Solitude
Epilogue
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem