1825 - William Hazlitt publishes The Spirit of the Age

The Spirit of the Age, published in 1825, is a collection of essays written about a selection of individuals who either paved the way for the Romantic period or shaped its existence. Some of these ‘Spirits’ were writers e.g. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth and Lord Byron; others came from a political background, e.g. William Wilberforce, and others were anomalous individuals whose lives had interested Hazlitt, e.g. John Horne Took – a grammarian, satirist, philosopher and wit. Hazlitt used his personal acquaintances with many of these men in order to capture their characters and works more accurately in his criticism. Much more than a mere portrait gallery, The Spirit of the Age describes the men and mood of the moment and provides an excellent example of Hazlitt’s work at the height of his powers as writer and critic.

Self-potrait, William Hazlitt, 1802