William Hazlitt was a keen observer of his time and the people populating the literary landscape before the year 1830. He presents short monographs on such illustrious persons as Jeremy Bentham 1748—1832, known for his philosophy of utility, William Godwin 1756-1836, who raised the standard of morality above the reach of humanity, Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834, Edward Irving 1792-1834, who keeps the public in awe by insulting all their favourite idols, Horne Tooke 1736-1812, who was tried for high treason, Sir Walter Scott 1771-1832, Lord Byron 1778-1824, Thomas Campbell 1777-1834, who wrote Pleasures of Hope, James Mackintosh 1765-1832, appointed Recorder (chief judge) of Bombay in 1804, William Wordsworth 1770-1850, Thomas Malthus 1766-1834, who wrote in answer to Mr. Godwin, William Gifford 1756-1826 , who edited The Quarterly Review, Francis Jeffrey 1773-1850, who edited The Edinburgh Review, Henry Brougham 1778–1868, who founded The Edinburgh Review in 1802, Francis Burdett 1770-1834, one of the most pleasing speakers in the House, and a prodigious favourite of the English people, William Wilberforce 1759-1833, whose first object and principle of action is to do what he thinks right, Robert Southey 1774-1843, the best and most natural prose-writer of any poet of the day, Thomas Moore 1779-1852, who wrote Fables for the Holy Alliance, and Leigh Hunt 1784-1859, we will venture to oppose his Third Canto of the Story of Rimini for classic elegance and natural feeling to any equal number of lines from Mr. Southey's Epics or from Mr. Moore's Lalla Rookh. Charles Lamb 1775-1834 wrote Essays of Elia under his pseudonym Elia and Washington Irvine 1783-1859 wrote under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon. Hazlitt compares the two in his final essay. He often refers to the person he’s writing about as Mr. Irvine, without even mentioning the first name. Zeitgeist is the spirit of the age in German. (Craig Campbell)
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