On the Pleasure of Hating

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Appearing as part of his Table-Talk series, a conversational series written on topics concerning every day issues, William Hazlitt wrote "On the Pleasure of Hating" in 1823 during a bitter period of his life, amidst rising controversy over his previous works, as well as the dissolution of his marriage. Disgusted with the flowery romantic literature which was flourishing in that post-French Revolution period, Hazlitt drew inspiration from the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, and various well-known English poets. He became known as one of the first English writers to make a profession of descriptive criticism. Fascinated with the extremes of human capabilities, Hazlitt wrote this essay as a plea for the understanding not merely of the pleasures of hating, but of the pleasures of realism. This collection includes seven essays: "The Fight," "The Indian Jugglers," "On the Spirit of Monarchy," "What is the People?," "What is the People? (concluded)," "On Reason and Imagination," and "On the Pleasure of Hating."


Neeland Media, Digireads.com
Book Format
Number of Pages
William Hazlitt
Publication Date
January, 2010
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.99 x 5.00 x 0.23 Inches

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This little book of es...

This little book of essays punctured my reluctance to tackle anything written more than a hundred years ago. What a foolish prejudice! From the essay "Indian Jugglers": "No man is truly great, who is great only in his lifetime." Which brought to mind modern celebrity and the petty inflations of the media, with whom Hazlitt was familar in his own time, dissecting the great and ungreat personages, and the qualities that made them so, and not. From "On the Spirit of Monarchy": "The right and the wrong are of little consequence, compared to the in and the out," discussing in this acerbic essay courts and kings; relevant to contemporary life, if not the enduring state of social affairs in whatever age. "Reason and Imagination," a biting commentary on detached reasoning versus "natural feeling," with Hazlitt citing examples that bring to mind "enhanced interrogation"/torture, about which he writes (while discussing slavery): "Practices, the mention of which make the flesh creep, and that affront the light of day, ought to be put down the instant they are known, without inquiry and without repeal." And the remarkable title essay, "On the Pleasure of Hating," which is so consistent and high-flying throughout that every phrase could be quoted and ruminated upon for its insight and application.

Sorry, it must be me: ...

Sorry, it must be me: I know that Hazlitt is a brilliant wit, part of the great tradition of British literature and an all round demi-God but he did nothing for me. This may be a book of only 118 pages, but it took longer than the entire works of Shakespeare, followed by the King James Bible and War and Peace, to read and was only vaguely more entertaining than the complete works of Barbara Cartland. Sorry, not for me.

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