Hazlitt Essays On The Past And The Future

Hazlitt Essays On The Past And The Future-17
The personal essay form has traditionally been shaped by two formidable forces, pulling in what may seem like diametrically opposed directions.

The personal essay form has traditionally been shaped by two formidable forces, pulling in what may seem like diametrically opposed directions.

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About the overreliance, Gifford writes: “If a trifling thing is to be told, [Hazlitt] will not mention it in common language: he must give it, if possible, in words which the Bard of Avon has somewhere used”.

This “constant stitching in of these patches”, Gifford argues, leads to “deformity” in Hazlitt’s style (Gifford 1818, 426).

Hazlitt does not simply echo Shakespeare repeatedly, but he often quotes him or adapts his words, rarely citing him by name.

The nature and function of these misquotations are key considerations in this essay, in which it is claimed that Hazlitt’s misquotations of Shakespeare are not simply errors but a signature element of an essayistic style marked by an echoing that recalls the well-known original—thus appealing to the relevance of that which is already known by his readers—while veering from it, over and over again, into new directions as a form of self-fashioning through style.

(Hazlitt 1928 [1826], 124-125) Thomas De Quincey, like Gifford, identifies Hazlitt’s reliance on quotation as one “vice of Mr.

Hazlitt’s composition”, and, using pejoratively words that post-structuralist theorists of intertextuality would use descriptively, censures him for reducing his essays to “a series of mosaics, a tessellation made up from borrowed fragments” (De Quincey 1873 [1838], 134-135).

Pour ce faire, il se penche sur l’œuvre de William Hazlitt (1778-1830) et, plus spécifiquement, sur les échos de Shakespeare dans les essais personnels de Hazlitt.

Si les échos de Shakespeare sont nombreux dans son œuvre, il s’agit bien souvent d’échos déformés qui ne font pas directement référence à la source citée.

The essayist shows this openness by quoting freely and frequently.

Montaigne (1533–92), widely considered the father of the modern essay, already embodies these opposite forces as he quotes extensively, especially from classical sources, while, at the same time, writing about very personal issues in such a way that, as he puts it, his “kinsfolk and friends [may] therein recover some traits of [his] conditions and humors, and by that means preserve more whole, and more life-like, the knowledge they had of [him]” (Montaigne v).

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