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: Romanticism is where the modern age begins, and Hazlitt was its most articulate spokesman. No one else had the ability to see it whole; no one else knew so many of its politicians, poets, and philosophers. In this first full biography, Duncan Wu draws upon over a decade of archival research to explore all aspects of Hazlitt's life, from his early aspirations to become a painter, his engagement with revolutionary politics, his rise to prominence as one of England's greatest literary critics, and the disillusionment and poverty of his final years. Along the way, Wu reveals countless new details concerning Hazlitt's relationships with Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, William Godwin, J. M. W. Turner, and other important figures of the Romantic era. But Wu sees Hazlitt as an essentially modern writer who took political sketch-writing to a new level, invented sports commentary as we know it, and created the essay-form as it is practiced in our own time. Painstakingly researched and filled with original insight, this biography benefits also from Wu's New Writings of William Hazlitt
, many of which make their appearance here, illuminating obscure passages of Hazlitt's life.