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Wikipedia Summary for William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 – 18 September 1830) was an English essayist, drama and literary critic, painter, social commentator, and philosopher. He is now considered one of the greatest critics and essayists in the history of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. He is also acknowledged as the finest art critic of his age. Despite his high standing among historians of literature and art, his work is currently little read and mostly out of print.

During his lifetime he befriended many people who are now part of the 19th-century literary canon, including Charles and Mary Lamb, Stendhal, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and John Keats.

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Longer Version:

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.
(1778 -- 1830).


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Longer Version:

Learning is its own exceeding great reward; and at the period of which we speak, it bore other fruits, not unworthy of it.


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Fame is the inheritance not of the dead, but of the living. It is we who look back with lofty pride to the great names of antiquity, who drink of that flood of glory as of a river, and refresh our wings in it for future flight.


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Longer Version:

Grace in women has more effect than beauty. We sometimes see a certain fine self-possession, an habitual voluptuousness of character, which reposes on its own sensations and derives pleasure from all around it, that is more irresistible than any other attraction. There is an air of languid enjoyment in such persons, "in their eyes, in their arms, and their hands, and their face," which robs us of ourselves, and draws us by a secret sympathy towards them.


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We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it. This is the reason why it is so difficult for any but natives to speak a language correctly or idiomatically.


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Longer Version:

There are no rules for friendship. It must be left to itself. We cannot force it any more than love.


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The only vice which cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.


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Longer Version:

Our energy is in proportion to the resistance it meets. We attempt nothing great but from a sense of the difficulties we have to encounter, we persevere in nothing great but from a pride in overcoming them.


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Silence is one great art of conversation. He is not a fool who knows when to hold his tongue; and a person may gain credit for sense, eloquence, wit, who merely says nothing to lessen the opinion which others have of these qualities in themselves.


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Longer Version:

Society is a more level surface than we imagine. Wise men or absolute fools are hard to be met with, as there are few giants or dwarfs. The heaviest charge we can bring against the general texture of society is that it is commonplace. Our fancied superiority to others is in some one thing which we think most of because we excel in it, or have paid most attention to it; whilst we overlook their superiority to us in something else which they set equal and exclusive store by.


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Longer Version:

Life is the art of being well deceived; and in order that the deception may succeed it must be habitual and uninterrupted.


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Longer Version:

Those only deserve a monument who do not need one; that is, who have raised themselves a monument in the minds and memories of men.


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Longer Version:

Hope is the best possession. None are completely wretched but those who are without hope. Few are reduced so low as that.


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Longer Version:

A life of action and danger moderates the dread of death. It not only gives us fortitude to bear pain, but teaches us at every step the precarious tenure on which we hold our present being.


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Longer Version:

The soil of friendship is worn out with constant use. Habit may still attach us to each other, but we feel ourselves fettered by it. Old friends might be compared to old married people without the tie of children.


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