Together they made an agreeable social foursome with the Lambs, who visited them when they set up a household in Winterslow , a village a few miles from Salisbury , Wiltshire, in southern England. The couple had three sons over the next few years, Only one of their children, William , born in , survived infancy.
He in turn fathered William Carew Hazlitt. Through William Godwin, with whom he was frequently in touch, he obtained a commission to write an English grammar , published on 11 November as A New and Improved Grammar of the English Tongue.
Though completed in , this work did not see the light of day until , and so provided no financial gain to satisfy the needs of a young husband and father.
Hazlitt in the meantime had not forsaken his painterly ambitions. His environs at Winterslow afforded him opportunities for landscape painting, and he spent considerable time in London procuring commissions for portraits.
A central thesis of the talks was that Thomas Hobbes , rather than John Locke, had laid the foundations of modern philosophy. After a shaky beginning, Hazlitt attracted some attention—and some much-needed money—by these lectures, and they provided him with an opportunity to expound some of his own ideas. Although he had demonstrated some talent, the results of his most impassioned efforts always fell far short of the very standards he had set by comparing his own work with the productions of such masters as Rembrandt, Titian , and Raphael.
It did not help that, when painting commissioned portraits, he refused to sacrifice his artistic integrity to the temptation to flatter his subjects for remunerative gain.
The results, not infrequently, failed to please their subjects, and he consequently failed to build a clientele. In John Milton moved into a "pretty garden-house" in Petty France. He lived there until the Restoration. Later it became No. Soon he met John Hunt , publisher of The Examiner , and his younger brother Leigh Hunt , the poet and essayist, who edited the weekly paper.
Hazlitt admired both as champions of liberty, and befriended especially the younger Hunt, who found work for him. He began to contribute miscellaneous essays to The Examiner in , and the scope of his work for the Chronicle was expanded to include drama criticism , literary criticism , and political essays.
In The Champion was added to the list of periodicals that accepted Hazlitt's by-now profuse output of literary and political criticism. A critique of Joshua Reynolds ' theories about art appeared there as well, one of Hazlitt's major forays into art criticism. A year earlier, with the prospect of a steady income, he had moved his family to a house at 19 York Street , Westminster , which had been occupied by the poet John Milton , whom Hazlitt admired above all English poets except Shakespeare.
As it happened, Hazlitt's landlord was the philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham. Hazlitt was to write extensively about both Milton and Bentham over the next few years. His low tolerance for any who, he thought, had abandoned the cause of liberty, along with his frequent outspokenness, even tactlessness, in social situations made it difficult for many to feel close to him, and at times he tried the patience of even Charles Lamb.
While praising the poem's sublimity and intellectual power, he took to task the intrusive egotism of its author. Clothing landscape and incident with the poet's personal thoughts and feelings suited this new sort of poetry very well; but his abstract philosophical musing too often steered the poem into didacticism, a leaden counterweight to its more imaginative flights. His self-esteem received an added boost when he was invited to contribute to the quarterly The Edinburgh Review his contributions, beginning in early , were frequent and regular for some years , the most distinguished periodical on the Whig side of the political fence its rival The Quarterly Review occupied the Tory side.
Writing for so highly respected a publication was considered a major step up from writing for weekly papers, and Hazlitt was proud of this connection.
Having idolised Napoleon for years, Hazlitt took it as a personal blow. The event seemed to him to mark the end of hope for the common man against the oppression of "legitimate" monarchy. His part-time work as a drama critic provided him with an excuse to spend his evenings at the theatre. Afterwards he would then tarry with those friends who could tolerate his irascibility, the number of whom dwindled as a result of his occasionally outrageous behaviour.
Defection from the cause of liberty had become easier in light of the oppressive political atmosphere in England at that time, in reaction to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The Hunts were his primary allies in opposing this tendency. Lamb, who tried to remain uninvolved politically, tolerated his abrasiveness, and that friendship managed to survive, if only just barely in the face of Hazlitt's growing bitterness, short temper, and propensity for hurling invective at friends and foes alike.
He competed with savage intensity, dashing around the court like a madman, drenched in sweat, and was accounted a good player. Sketches and Essays. Now First Collected by His Son.
London: John Templeman, First edition. Small octavo 6. Publisher's dark green diaper-grain cloth with covers decoratively panelled in blind and spine ruled in blind and lettered in gilt.
Original pale yellow endpapers. Blythe at head of title. Armorial bookplate of Frederick S. Peck on the verso of the front free endpaper. After Dickens's death on June 9, , books from his library were sold and listed in Sotheran's "Price Current of Literature," giving a record of the books he then possessed.
This was later edited by J. Barry Morris Collection. Stonehouse, p.First edition. Peck on the verso of the front free endpaper. In large part, however, Hazlitt was then living a decidedly contemplative existence, one somewhat frustrated by his failure to express on paper the thoughts and feelings that were churning within him. This was later edited by J. A central thesis of the talks was that Thomas Hobbes , rather than John Locke, had laid the foundations of modern philosophy. The results, not infrequently, failed to please their subjects, and he consequently failed to build a clientele.
I cannot sit quietly down under the claims of barefaced power, and I have tried to expose the little arts of sophistry by which they are defended. William Hazlitt. Expertly and almost invisibly rebacked, with most of the original spine laid down. First edition.
Hazlitt aimed to create the best pictures he could, whether they flattered their subjects or not, and neither poet was satisfied with his result, though Wordsworth and their mutual friend Robert Southey considered his portrait of Coleridge a better likeness than one by the celebrated James Northcote. His intense studies focused on man as a social and political animal, and, in particular, on the philosophy of mind, a discipline that would later be called psychology. Truth and Genius had embraced, under the eye and with the sanction of Religion. He therefore was commissioned to abridge and write a preface to a now obscure work of mental philosophy, The Light of Nature Pursued by Abraham Tucker originally published in seven volumes from to , which appeared in  and may have had some influence on his own later thinking. Priestley, whom Hazlitt had read and who was also one of his teachers, was an impassioned commentator on political issues of the day.