The Hazlitt Society



A Select Hazlitt Bibliography


P. P. Howe (ed.), The Complete Works of William Hazlitt. 21 vols. London: Dent, 1930-4. (Centenary edition)

This is still the standard edition for anyone seriously interested in Hazlitt. It contains texts of all the full-length volumes now attributed to him, and Howe's annotations are still helpful (although they're keyed to outdated editions, and contain some errors). The likelihood is that if you have access to this, it will probably be through a library. If you wish to acquire a complete set, you'll find that its price hasn't declined with time: on the second-hand market, it's not unknown for copies to sell for £2000. There were only 1000 copies in the original edition, although it was reprinted in the 1960s by Cass & Co, and it is now also accessible in facisimile on archive.org. It has to be said that Howe's edition isn't quite 'complete'; there are a number of essays that he doesn't include here, and the type is quite small. If what you need is a good selected works that includes most of the book-length texts, see the next entry.

Duncan Wu (ed.), The Selected Writings of William Hazlitt. 9 vols. London: Pickering and Chatto, 1998.

This nine-volume edition updates Howe's texts, and his annotations, incorporating the scholarship of the seven decades since the appearance of Howe. Along with newly-edited texts of the major book-length works, it includes two hitherto unpublished essays (edited from manuscript). It also includes an important introductory essay by Tom Paulin.

Duncan Wu (ed.), New Writings of William Hazlitt. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. (OUP website).

This is a collection of 205 newly-discovered essays by Hazlitt, including major essays on the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, a defence of Byron and Shelley from accusations of indecency, an analysis of the three trials of the Regency publisher and writer William Hone, and a series of reminiscences and anecdotes from his last years. Some of Wu's attributions are speculative, but largely convincing.

Jon Cook (ed.), William Hazlitt: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. (World's Classics paperback: OUP website.)

This is an excellent one-volume paperback selection, which divides its contents under subject headings such as 'Politics', 'Culture', 'The Self', 'Heroes', and 'Art and Literature'. Cook provides a useful introduction, and helpful annotations.

Jon Mee and James Grande (eds.), The Spirit of Controversy and Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. (World's Classics paperback: OUP website)

Updated World's Classic which focuses more on the essays and the context of their first publication within the print culture of the Romantic period.

Tom Paulin and David Chandler (eds.), William Hazlitt: The Fight and Other Writings. London: Penguin Classics, 1998. (Penguin Classics website)

Another excellent one-volume selection, significantly longer and more inclusive than either World's Classic, with an introduction by Tom Paulin and some informative annotations by Chandler.

Gregory Dart (ed.), William Hazlitt: Metropolitan Writings. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2005. (Carcanet website)

This volume collects together a number of Hazlitt's most important metropolitan essays, many of them not otherwise available in paperback. These essays include 'On Londoners and Country People', 'The Indian Jugglers', 'On the Want of Money' and 'On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth'. The edition also contains a critical introduction exploring Hazlitt's attitude to early nineteenth-century London life.  

Gregory Dart (ed.), Liber Amoris and Related Writings. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2008. (Carcanet website)

This edition brings together Liber Amoris, Hazlitt's notorious memoir of unrequited love, and some of the other essays that he was producing at the same time (1821-3). These include important pieces 'On the Fear of Death', 'On Great and Little Things', 'The Fight' and 'On the Knowledge of Character'. Prefaced by a critical essay and containing footnotes relating Hazlitt's texts to his letters from the period, this edition offers a detailed insight into the main creative crisis of Hazlitt's life

Duncan Wu (ed.), The Plain Speaker: The Key Essays. With an introduction by Tom Paulin. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998. (Blackwell (now Wiley) website)

Excellent paperback selection from one of Hazlitt's most important works. Includes such important works as 'On the Prose Style of Poets', 'On the Conversation of Authors', 'On Reason and Imagination', and 'On the Pleasure of Hating'. In addition it contains John Hamilton Reynolds' hitherto unpublished description of Hazlitt and a newly-discovered essay, 'A Half-Length'.

William Hazlitt, The Spirit of the Age. Grasmere: The Wordsworth Trust, 2004.

This appears to be the only paperback edition of Hazlitt's greatest work currently in print. It is lavishly illustrated with portraits of the various people described by Hazlitt, and is prefaced with an essay by Robert Woof, director of the Wordsworth Trust.