Essay Street Quarrel

Essay Street Quarrel-9
Leaving aside the melodramatic reference to a dagger, chose to allegorise Hazlitt's fearsome powers as a polemicist and debater in print, there is some truth in De Quincey's picture, for Hazlitt was indeed at loggerheads with the vested interests of his time, he indeed never courted favour with those 'in the sunshine of the world' because he suspected that most of them had got there by dishonest or despicable means, and he indeed suffered much from disappointments in his personal life and insults were connected, for this was an age of violent polemic and party strife, of which Hazlitt was the subject of constant attack by the Tory press, of a kind we could not now tolerate and therefore do not now see.He returned their attacks with interest, but his enemies made ammunition out of his private sufferings, thereby doubling them.

Leaving aside the melodramatic reference to a dagger, chose to allegorise Hazlitt's fearsome powers as a polemicist and debater in print, there is some truth in De Quincey's picture, for Hazlitt was indeed at loggerheads with the vested interests of his time, he indeed never courted favour with those 'in the sunshine of the world' because he suspected that most of them had got there by dishonest or despicable means, and he indeed suffered much from disappointments in his personal life and insults were connected, for this was an age of violent polemic and party strife, of which Hazlitt was the subject of constant attack by the Tory press, of a kind we could not now tolerate and therefore do not now see.He returned their attacks with interest, but his enemies made ammunition out of his private sufferings, thereby doubling them.

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'It is a book, in which one may read strange things.' He would have become the pencil of Titian, and have done justice to the soul–fed colours of that bold and matchless Italian.

I fear you will be tired of this long personality, but I remember having read a few papers of this to you, and therefore imagine you are not wholly uninterested in him.

'His inveterate misanthropy was constitutional,' De Quincey wrote.

'Exasperated it certainly had been by accidents of life, by disappointments, by mortifications, by insults, and still more by having wilfully placed himself in collision from the first with all the interests that were in the sunshine of the world, and of all the persons that were then powerful in England...

On those occasions he revealed the pure disinterested genius his contemporaries valued in him.

A very different picture is given by Thomas De Quincey, never a friend to Hazlitt, and still less so after being detected in unacknowledged burrowings from Hazlitt's writings (from which he was uncomfortably obliged to apologize).

– full of eloquence, – warm, lofty , and communicative on everything imaginative and intelligent, – breathing out with us the peculiar and favourite beauties of our best bards, – passing from grand and commanding argument to gaieties and graces of wit and humour, – and the elegant and higher beauties of Poetry.

He is indeed great company, and leaves a weight on the mind, which 'it can hardly bear'.

He did not care to conceal what he thought or felt about matters that stirred him.

When he desired privacy for himself or others, he remained silent.

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