Mahoney, "Periodical Indigestion: Hazlitt's Unpalatable Politics"

Romanticism and Conspiracy

Periodical Indigestion: Hazlitt's Unpalatable Politics

Charles Mahoney, University of Connecticut, Storrs

  1. Reviewing Coleridge's Statesman's Manual for The Edinburgh Review in 1816, Hazlitt singles out for attention Coleridge's pointedly un-Miltonic denunciation of "promiscuous" reading:

    For among other odd burs and kecksies, the misgrowth of our luxuriant activity, we have now a READING PUBLIC..., whose heads and hearts are dieted at the two public ordinaries of Literature, the circulating libraries and the periodical press. But what is the result? Does the inward man thrive on this regime? Alas! if the average health of the consumers may be judged by the articles of largest consumption; if the secretions may be conjectured from the ingredients of the dishes that are found best suited to their palates; from all that I have seen, either of the banquet or the guests, I shall utter my Profaccia with a desponding sigh. (Hazlitt, 16: 105; Coleridge 36-8)

    Is it possible, Hazlitt quickly asks, to be serious after such a "delicate morceau"? No, indeed not. But that needn't preclude us from savouring just what makes Coleridge's little "morceau" so delicious for our consideration of Hazlitt's periodical criticism. First there is Hazlitt's own status as, arguably, the oddest bur, the relentless critic of the Lake poets' apostasies, whose writings for the periodical press at precisely this time continue to create the taste according to which Coleridge and Wordsworth are being and will be read. Then there is question of the health of this taste. As Coleridge implies, the ordinary reader who diets at the prix-fixe banquet that is the periodical press cannot aspire to anything more than a delicate health, due to the consumptive ingredients with which those popular articles are concocted (by Hazlitt and others) for his ordinary palate.

  2. However piquante such a reading of Coleridge's overcooked metaphor may be, it serves to draw our attention to an alimentary trope (the periodical press as an "ordinary," or table d'hôte, for unsophisticated palates) that in turn informs Hazlitt's own dégustation of the state of public taste in an 1823 essay, "The Periodical Press" (16: 211-39). Hazlitt is concerned here to rescue the reading public from such high-cultural scorn as Coleridge's; yet, at the same time, he doesn't hesitate to take issue with its distempered appetite, chiding it for indulging the partisan excesses of the Ministerial Press. As so often in his criticism, Hazlitt's political populism regularly collides here with his strikingly individual account of the power of language and of the literary imagination. In characteristic Hazlittian fashion, a levelling argument (in this case, in favour of universal critical suffrage) somehow manages both to celebrate and to deride the public it would defend: no sooner will Hazlitt assert the necessity of courting the reading public if critics are successfully to disseminate the principles of taste (16: 219), than he will concede that this same public's taste is in fact so "ordinary" -- indeed, provincial -- that "it is necessary to insert politics in a sort of sandwich of literature, in order to make them at all palatable" (16: 220).

  3. Throughout Hazlitt's consideration of the politics of periodical criticism, metaphors of taste operate both gastronomically and in terms of a decorum that is both literary and political -- a crossing which can be read most succinctly in the anagrammatic construction of "taste" as "state." Indeed, both Hazlitt's account here and his routine practice of periodical criticism may be profitably considered as a continual negotiation between the state-of-taste and the taste-of-the-state. In dressing politics in a "sandwich of literature" to slip it past the ordinary tastes of the reading public, Hazlitt must simultaneously disguise his (radical) politics as belles-lettres if he is to evade the "literary police," those skulking government critics such as William Gifford who, in their critical capacity as tasters to the state, would restrict public taste to a strictly "legitimate" diet. As figured, then, in the metaphorical border crossings performed by "taste" in Hazlitt's account of the periodical press, "politics" denotes not merely an ideological critique of the abuses of power, but also (and more importantly) the manoeuvres of smuggling "politics" past the literary police and into an otherwise unassuming sandwich of literature -- all in the name of creating a more "liberal taste."(1) For romantic criticism, it would appear, political writing has become a matter of undercover gourmandizing.

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  4. Hazlitt's lengthy essay consists of three parts: a defense of periodical criticism as necessary to the "critical" spirit of the times if we are to taste, let alone savour, an otherwise "undigested heap" of works of genius; a sampling of some of the more prominent daily, weekly, and monthly offerings of the press, presented thoughout as a banquet whose dishes are to be estimated according to the relative liberality of their editors' tastes; and a denunciation of the illiberal excesses of the Ministerial Press, that "corps of government-critics" (10: 246) who exploit the most servile pretexts to withhold opposition delicacies, practicing political proscription under the heading of literary criticism (8: 221).(2)

  5. Opening with the query, "Whether Periodical Criticism is ... beneficial to the cause of literature" (16: 211), Hazlitt quickly overrides the implied charge that the periodical press is not, that it instills fear in contemporary writers and thus inhibits the productions of genius, in order to announce his own truism on the subject -- namely "That periodical criticism is favourable--to periodical criticism" (16: 212). According to Hazlitt, such criticism not only suits the spirit of the times but in fact actually advances it:

    We complain that this is a Critical age; and that no great works of Genius appear, because so much is said and written about them; while we ought to reverse the argument, and say, that it is because so many works of genius have appeared, that they have left us little or nothing to do, but to think and talk about them--that if we did not do that, we should do nothing so good. (16: 212)

    "Be it so," Hazlitt then announces with an Iago-like flourish, for "'We are nothing, if not critical'" (16: 213). What, precisely, does Hazlitt mean here by "criticism" and why is it so important? In the most straightforward sense (similar to arguments made at greater length by Peacock and others), "criticism" is simply the work of any period subsequent to one of unusual productivity; "criticism" names the study and diffusion of the productions of genius. For Hazlitt, it is this and more. "Criticism," specifically periodical criticism, is the definitive genre of romantic writing, for it is here more than anywhere else that we can read the volatile redefinition of such terms as "literature," "aesthetics," "politics," "taste," and, above all, "criticism," the abiding congery of which terms has in turn produced our valorization of this writing as "Romantic." The challenge for periodical criticism, as Hazlitt presents it, is to reconfigure their relations in a palatable mix, one that will "go down" with the reading public and thus diffuse the ingredients of a liberal (as opposed to a "legitimate," and thereby illegitimate) taste.

  6. Having amassed a "superabundance of raw materials," Hazlitt continues, the "grand desideratum" of the present is to re-fashion and re-distribute them; since literature is no longer confined to the few, "the object therefore is, to make it accessible and attractive to the many" (16: 219-20). The reading public is no longer to be treated with Coleridgean contempt but, rather, cultivated, flirted with, and seduced into taste. Essential to the success of this appeal is the critical re-fashioning of literature as a coquette. Literature may formerly have been "a sweet Heremitress, who fed on the pure breath of Fame, in silence and in solitude," but modern literature, that delicious morceau" is

    ...a gay Coquette, fluttering, fickle, vain; ... the subject of polite conversation; the darling of private parties; the go-between in politics; the directress of fashion; the polisher of manners ... [whose] very variety and superficial polish show the extent and height to which knowledge has been acquired, and the general interest taken in letters. (16: 219)

    Similarly directing fashion, polishing manners, and interfering in politics, the operations of the periodical press are distinctly coquettish. Hazlitt even goes so far as to model the contemporary critic on the coquette, announcing that since "we exist in the bustle of the world, and cannot escape from the notice of our contemporaries..., [w]e must please to live, and therefore should live to please. We must look to the public for support" (16: 220). Impudent, witty, bold, and as vulnerable as coquettes, critics rely upon their extraordinary forwardness, their disregard of forms and decorum, to appeal to the vanity of their readers.(3) The success of periodical criticism attends upon its ability to smile and be polite, under cover of which facetious attentions the truly radical critic can essay to smuggle in "politics" past the coquetted gatekeepers.

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  7. No sooner has Hazlitt concluded his impudent assessment of the practical versatility of the periodical press than he brings us up short with the "one fatal objection" that is routinely made against periodical criticism -- namely, "that it is too often made the engine of party-spirit and personal invective" (16: 220). Criticism's decidedly coquettish facility as a "go-between" not only makes it invaluable for the dissemination of taste, but also, it now appears, renders it unusually vulnerable to seduction and appropriation. Though this is an abuse greatly to be lamented, Hazlitt immediately attempts to recuperate the value of the periodical press through contending that, in fact, its exploitation "only shows the extent and importance of this branch of literature, so that it has become the organ of everything else" (16: 220).

  8. Acutely aware as he is of the Janus-faced versatility of criticism (its facility for seduction coupled with its susceptibility to exploitation), Hazlitt re-formulates this dilemma again and again throughout his appraisal of the periodical press. And each time he does so, we can glimpse the constitutive versatility of Hazlitt's own critical posture, that of a political leveller who is nevertheless a defiant cultural highbrow. Although Hazlitt appears to have taken upon himself the task of vindicating the reading public against Coleridge's censorious ridicule, his defense of miscellaneous criticism often amounts to little more than a melancholic acknowledgement of its necessarily miscellaneous character: the progress of cultivation, different arts and exercises stretch out their arms to impede, not to assist one another. Politics blend with poetry, painting with literature; fashion and elegance must be combined with learning and study: and thus the mind gets a smattering of everything, and a mastery in none. The mixing of acquirements, like the mixing of liquors, is no doubt a bad thing, and muddles the brain; but in a certain stage of society, it is in some degree unavoidable. (16: 216)

    Similarly, the mixing of genres can be seen to muddle the taste. Through blending poetry and politics, for example, periodical criticism may give the public a soupçon of both, but it risks neutralizing its taste for either, for the result (as Hazlitt complains of the London Magazine) is that "all is in a confused, unconcocted state, like the materials of a rich plum-pudding before it has been well boiled" (16: 232). The public may indeed "like to taste works in the sample, before they swallow them whole" (16: 231-2), but how is criticism to cultivate a liberal public taste when the public's unsophisticated palate is catered to so indiscriminately?

  9. Hazlitt's metaphors of muddled concoctions are noteworthy not only because they clarify the susceptibility of the public to the careless mixing of discreet tastes, but also because, in regulating the entire essay as they do, they comment succinctly on that aspect of Hazlitt's style to which contemporary critics and readers alike take exception: the indiscriminate violation of belles- lettres by politics. Keeping in mind that unconcocted state of taste, I want to explicate Hazlitt's richest articulation of this double-standard, as he presents it in "The Periodical Press," in order that we may examine Hazlitt's reservations about periodical criticism in terms of what they reveal, in turn, about the vehement strictures passed by romantic criticism against Hazlitt's own writing.

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  10. Having fashioned periodical criticism as a coquette capable of directing manners as well as mediating between (or interfering in) poetry and politics, Hazlitt returns to his alimentary trope in one last, sustained attempt to explain why it is "in some degree" unavoidable that literature and politics are repeatedly to be found concocted (ripened, digested, endured) with one another in romantic criticism:

    The bias to miscellaneous criticism and discussion is so great, that it is necessary to insert politics in a sort of sandwich of literature, in order to make them at all palatable to the ordinary taste. The war of political pamphlets, of virulent pasquinades, has ceased, and the ghosts of Junius and Cato, of Gracchus and Cincinnatus, no longer "squeak and gibber" in our modern streets, or torment the air with a hubbub of hoarse noises. A Whig or Tory tirade on a political question, the abuse of a public character, now stands side by side in a fashionable Review, with a disquisition on ancient coins, or is introduced right in the middle of an analysis of the principles of taste. This is a violation, no doubt, of the rules of decorum and order, and might well be dispensed with: but ... mere politics, mere personal altercation, will not go down without an infusion of the Belles-Lettres and the Fine Arts. This makes decidedly either for the refinement or the frivolity of our taste. It is found necessary to poison or to sour the public mind, by going to the well-head of polite literature and periodical criticism, -- which shows plainly how many drink at that fountain, and will drink at no other. (16: 220-21)

    Integral to what makes this quotation so startling is that although Hazlitt ostensibly offers us the "sandwich of literature" as a metaphor for the fatal objection against periodical criticism (its appropriation as an "engine of party-spirit and personal invective" [16: 220]), it is after all such an apt figure for (if not, furthermore, a lampoon of) the operations of his own writing. Far from being merely guilty of such sleight-of-hand, Hazlitt's criticism stands and falls according to this criterion.

  11. When Hazlitt first deploys the word "taste," he does so gastronomically, with regard to the public's palate. When he next does so, it figures decorum (the "principles of taste") yet not without an aftertaste of its previous usage: what is a reader to do, Hazlitt implicitly asks, when he finds a political tirade "right in the middle of an analysis [a sandwich] of the principles of taste"? Such unpredictable interventions lend an unexpected degree of urgency to Hazlitt's conclusion, when (having noted again that "mere politics ... will not go down without an infusion of the Belles-Lettres"), he announces, "this makes decidedly either for the refinement or the frivolity of our taste." "This" is what is finally at stake for Hazlitt in periodical criticism: will such sandwiches enhance the taste of the public, rendering it more liberal? Or will they corrupt and poison it, reducing it to an illiberal distemper?

  12. A preliminary answer may be read, once again, in Hazlitt's figure of the critic-as-coquette, whose impudent versatility qualifies him to direct fashions, yet renders him vulnerable to appropriation and redirection by party politics. As Hazlitt proceeds to sample the offerings of the periodical press, the criterion that emerges is the correspondence between editorial taste and the "liberal taste" which Hazlitt holds to be "the true characteristic of the age" (16: 232): while the editor of the London Magazine occasionally fails to bring his pudding to a boil, leaving things in a "confused, unconcocted state," the editor of the New Monthly errs in the other direction, tampering until "the taste and spirit evaporate" (16: 232).

  13. The failing of most periodicals, however, is not over-refinement but coarseness and profanity. "The illiberality of the Periodical Press," Hazlitt clarifies, "is 'the sin that most easily besets it,'" though it is only "the worst part of the Ministerial Press that has had the temptation, the hardihood, or the cowardice to make literature the mere tool and creature of party-spirit" (16: 232-3). With this turn to the Ministerial Press, Hazlitt devotes the remainder of the article to exposing and denouncing "the great opprobium of our periodical literature": that a malignant "gang of literary retainers" in the service of the "literary police" should defame as wickedly as they do all writers who do not "have the Government mark upon them," thereby polluting not merely the periodical press but also the taste of a reading public that relies upon it for its critical diet (16: 237, 238, 239). Scrutinizing in this way the illiberal excesses which compromise the otherwise miscellaneous character of the periodical press, Hazlitt vociferously exposes the ideological distortions according to which the Ministerial Press would disease the reading public with its "legitimate taste." In the same breath as he denounces these "government scribblers" and "court critics," Hazlitt also manages to remind us that "the continuance of this nuisance rests ... with the public" (16: 233), and is not likely to cease until "the excess leads to the remedy, and the distempered appetite of the public be surfeited, and so die" (16: 239).

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  14. While it is curiously reminiscent of Coleridge's desponding profaccia, Hazlitt's double-pronged disdain here (both for the press and the public) needs to be considered within the context of his own relations with the press, both ministerial and otherwise, if we are to understand why contemporary critics found his own politics so unpalatable. How is it that, formulating as well as he does the necessity of smuggling politics into a sandwich of literature if they are to have any chance of going down with the reading public, his own writing sticks so uncomfortably in the throat of so many of his own readers and reviewers?

  15. An appraisal of Hazlitt's style by Thomas Noon Talfourd (a middlebrow defender of the "ordinary taste") may be taken as representative. In a lengthy review of Hazlitt's Lectures Chiefly on Dramatic Literature (1820) for the Edinburgh Review in 1820, Talfourd writes that Hazlitt's "love of startling paradox -- and his intrusion of political virulence, at seasons when the mind is prepared only for the delicate investigations of taste, have naturally provoked a good deal of asperity, and prevented the due appreciation of his powers" (438).(4) Startling as well as virulent, Hazlitt's writing offends the reader both rhetorically (too paradoxical) and politically (too vehement). According to Talfourd, literary criticism is a venue and an inquiry which "should be sacred from all discordant emotions" (441) in order for the reader better to appreciate "those talents and feelings which [Hazlitt] has here brought to the contemplation of such beauty and grandeur, [which] none of the low passions of this 'ignorant present time' should ever be permitted to overcloud" (438-9). In violating both the decorum of genre and the sensibilities of his audience, Talfourd complains, Hazlitt fatally impedes his own appreciation. If Hazlitt has not met with critical justice, according to Talfourd, then it must finally be attributed to his apparent readiness to indulge not merely the "occasional breaking in of personal animosities on that deep harmony which should attend the reverent contemplation of genius" (439), but also the most arresting figurative language, which latter propensity produces "the want of all continuity in his style" (440). Take, for example, the "sandwich of literature": as a critic, Hazlitt clearly understands the necessity of disguising politics in such a way as not to aggravate the reader's taste; but when it is a matter of his own writing, he is incapable of exercising such restraint. As Talfourd implicitly recognizes but hesitates to accede to, the intersection of politics and literature in Hazlitt's writing can in no way be confined to that writing which presents itself as overtly "political."

  16. Indeed, although contemporary reviewers repeatedly criticize Hazlitt for the intrusion of political invective upon what is supposed to be tasteful literary criticism, any attempt to distinguish, once-and-for-all, political from literary writing in Hazlitt is bound to fail. An anonymous review of Hazlitt's Political Essays (1819) in the Monthly Review (1820) further reveals the critical ambivalence with which Hazlitt's writing was received, and the sharp discontinuity reviewers regularly remarked between his political and literary criticism. Qualifying as "extra-judicial" his attention to a volume that merely collects articles which have already appeared in the newspapers (primarily in the Examiner), the reviewer remarks that, if he is in fact tempted to read the Political Essays, to "stray from the turn-pike road of professional duty and wander with [Hazlitt] wheresoever he invites us," it is quite specifically due to the "ardent and unstudied eloquence, the fertile fancy, the quick sensibility, and the discriminating genius, which Mr. Hazlitt has displayed" in theCharacters of Shakespear's Plays (1817), the Lectures on the English Poets (1818), and the Lectures on the English Comic Writers (1819).

  17. In moving from literary criticism to politics, however, and there confining himself "almost exclusively to the vituperation of political characters" (252), the Hazlitt of the Political Essays receives no such approbation:

    An irrepressible vehemence pervades the language of Mr. Hazlitt, which, when applied to persons, even in their political capacity as statesmen, orators, or writers, is calculated to alienate and irritate.... His criticisms of our dramatic and poetic writers are delightful; evincing a perception and enjoyment of those minor beauties and almost latent graces of composition, which are lost on the dull organs of common observers. We had much rather, therefore, see him exercising his faculties on the belles lettres than on politics: -- he has not temper enough for the latter. (255-6)

    In privileging Hazlitt's "critical rather than his political lucubrations," the reviewer repeatedly attends not simply to the falling off of Hazlitt's critical perception and reasoning with regard to politics but, conspicuously, to the efficacy and temper of Hazlitt's language in the Political Essays, where the "indulgence of invective" distinguishes it from other less topical political writing. If literary criticism is to be distinguished by its quick and responsive sensibility, then, for the Monthly's reviewer, political writing is to be marked by reasoning, rather than invective, which not only obscures Hazlitt's significant critical prowess, but further indicts him as a sort of rhetorical tyrant:

    We participate with him in all his hatred of tyranny and contempt for its tools, whatever station in life they occupy, and with whatever rank or title they are decorated and disgraced, but we have no relish for diffuse, personal, and declamatory invective, and of this we have too much in the volume before us. The writer's command of language is very great, and he is sometimes apt to exercise his imperial power like other potentates, uncontrouled by judgement or discretion. (258)

    As sympathetic as this reviewer is to Hazlitt's agenda in the Political Essays-- "I cannot sit quietly down under the claims of barefaced power, and I have tried to expose the little arts of sophistry by which they are defended" (7: 7) -- he is nonetheless quick to comment wryly on the degree to which Hazlitt's rhetorical practice of vehement and splenetic invective is but a "tool" of the tyranny to which he succumbs in his political writing, which turns ardent, impatient political integrity into linguistic despotism.(5)

  18. Hazlitt, then, would seem simultaneously to command language and, thanks to to his intemperance, to lose his command over language; it is precisely this undiscriminating contradiction that lessens the critic's "relish," or taste, for Hazlitt's writing. (As attentive to the seemingly inevitable alignment of language, the imagination, and power as he is in his repeated criticisms of apostates and apostasy for abstracting the sense of power from the sense of good, Hazlitt himself can be seen, again and again, to fall prey to a similar overdetermination of language by an intemperate imagination.) Or, worse still, Hazlitt can be said to abdicate his critical "command" through catering to the reading public's distempered "organs" of taste:

    The taste of the public has, of late years, been accustomed to very high stimulants: no plain wholesome food will go down; and every thing must be hashed and stewed with some "sauce piquante," which however delicious to one palate, may be very offensive and disgusting to another. Mr. Hazlitt should not cater for such pampered appetites. (256)
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  19. The intensely piquante collision of the political with the literary in Hazlitt's own writing marks it as dangerously critical for a periodical press that is (most prominently between Waterloo and Peterloo) singularly preoccupied with the relation between romantic politics and romantic writing, a relation characterized by an aestheticization of politics that is as uncontrollable as it is unavoidable. While a reviewer as sympathetic as Talfourd marginalizes Hazlitt's splenetic invective by insisting on the status of criticism as belles-lettres, Gifford condemns Hazlitt's writing as seditious libel in order to discredit his increasingly celebrated status as a literary critic.(6) Regardless of the partisan politics of the reviewer, Hazlitt's intemperate writing inevitably provokes a display of the critical and ideological anxieties which characterize romantic criticism (including Hazlitt's own). Motivated at either extreme by the seeming necessity of defending literature, literary criticism, and the periodical press against Hazlitt's saucy reading practices, romantic criticism is repeatedly forced to confront the disturbing possibility that Hazlitt's politics not only brand every aspect of his writing, but also empower its resistance to any and all principles of literary taste and decorum, including that law of genre according to which literary criticism is not to be contaminated by politics--unless, of course, it is disguised in a "sandwich of literature."


(1) See Hazlitt's Letter to William Gifford (1819; 9: 11-59), for Hazlitt's most sustained denunciation of Gifford, the "Government Critic ... the invisible link that connects literature and the police" (9: 13), whose servile role as editor of the Quarterly Review is to counteract any knowledge of the English language and its literature "except on the minister's side of the question," in order to "restore the taste of the public to its legitimate tone" (9: 33). back

(2) In "On Criticism" (included in the 1821 edition of Table-Talk), Hazlitt clarifies that the basis of what he derides as "political criticism" is first-and-foremost the "virulence of party spirit," for "the basis of this style of writing is a caput mortuum of impotent spite and dulness, till it is varnished over with the slime of servility, and thrown into a state of unnatural activity by the venom of the most rancorous bigotry" (10: 220). Hazlitt continues, in a voice reminiscent of his contemptuous denunciation of Gifford two years earlier:

It is not a question of literary discussion, but of political proscription. It is a mark of loyalty and patriotism to extend no quarter to those of the opposite party. Instead of replying to your arguments, they call you names, put words and opinions into your mouth which you have never uttered, and consider it a species of misprision of treason to admit that a Whig author knows any thing of common sense or English. (10.221) back

(3) Intriguingly, although Hazlitt feminizes criticism as a "coquette," in Liber Amoris (which he had submitted for publication the same year he undertook to write "The Periodical Press"), Hazlitt insistently characterizes Sarah Walker as a "coquet," a masculine usage that was ostensibly obsolete by the end of the eighteenth century. back

(4) See Talfourd's "Thoughts Upon the Intellectual Character of the Late William Hazlitt" for a fuller exposition of Talfourd's reservations. back

(5) To the degree that Hazlitt's rhetorical tyranny not only compromises his otherwise rigorously libertarian politics, but also renders him susceptible to appropriation by his Tory foes, the Hazlitt indicted here by the Monthly Review's critic uncomfortably resembles the Shelley whom Hazlitt will indict in "On Paradox and Common-Place" (8: 146-52) for the political dangers of his own rhetorical excesses. back

(6)Reviewing The Characters of Shakespear's Play's in the Quarterly Review, Gifford seizes upon Hazlitt's politicization of the plays in order to expose "how very small a portion of talent and literature is necessary to carry on the trade of sedition" (466). Justifying his splenetic bardolatry as a necessary exposition of the libellous and "concentrated venom" of Hazlitt's "malignity," Gifford would convict Hazlitt according to the "law" of the Quarterly (espoused by Southey in "Parliamentary Reform" and "The Rise and Progress of Popular Disaffection"), according to which seditious libel is to be made punishable by transportation. (Although Gifford's review ran anonymously, Hazlitt's supposition regarding its authorship is supported by, among others, Hill Shine, in The Quarterly Review Under Gifford [60].) back

Works Cited

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Lay Sermons. Ed. R.J. White. Vol. 6 of The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Bollingen Series 75. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1972.

Gifford, William. Rev. of The Characters of Shakespear's Play's, by William Hazlitt. Quarterly Review 18 (January 1818): 458-66.

Hazlitt, William. The Complete Works of William Hazlitt. Ed. P.P. Howe. 21 vols. London: J.M. Dent, 1930-34.

Rev. of Political Essays, by William Hazlitt. Monthly Review 2nd series 43 (November 1820): 250-8.

Shine, Hill, and Helen Chadwick. The Quarterly Review Under Gifford: Identification of Contributors, 1809-1824. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1949.

Talfourd, Thomas Noon. Rev. of Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth, by William Hazlitt. Edinburgh Review 34 (November 1820): 438-49.

---. "Thoughts Upon the Intellectual Character of the Late William Hazlitt." Literary Remains of the Late William Hazlitt. Ed. E.L. Bulwer et. al. 2 vols. London: 1836. 1: lxxxviii- cxxxiv.