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On The Pleasure of Hating by William Hazlitt
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On The Pleasure of Hating

by William Hazlitt

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» See also 3 mentions

English (4)  Danish (1)  All languages (5)
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"All traces of life, of natural expression, were gone from him. His face was like a human skull, a death's head...He was not like an actual man, but like a preternatural, spectral appearance." -- The Fight



"Man, thou art a wonderful animal, and thy ways past finding out! Thou canst do strange things, but thou turnest them to little account!" -- The Indian Jugglers



"He who has the greatest power put into his hands, will only become more impatient of any restraint in the use of it." -- On Monarchy



"The power of an arbitrary King or an aspiring Minister does not increase with the liberty of the subject, but must be circumscribed by it." -- What is the People?



"I hate people who have no notion of any thing but generalities, and forms, and creeds, and naked propositions, even worse than I dislike those who cannot for the soul of them arrive at the comprehension of an abstract idea." -- On Reason and Imagination



"What chance is there of the success of real passion? What certainty of its continuance? Seeing all this as I do, and unravelling the web of human life into its various threads of meanness, spite, cowardice, want of feeling, and want of understanding, of indifference towards others and ignorance of ourselves -- seeing custom prevail over all excellence, itself giving way to infamy -- mistaken as I have been in my public and private hopes, calculating others from myself, and calculating wrong; always disappointed where I placed most reliance; the dupe of friendship, and the fool of love; have I not reason to hate and to despise myself? Indeed I do; and chiefly for not having hated and despised the world enough." -- On the Pleasure of Hating ( )
1 vote | KidSisyphus | Apr 5, 2013 |
Sorry, it must be me: I know that Hazlitt is a brilliant wit, part of the great tradition of British literature and an all round demi-God but he did nothing for me. This may be a book of only 118 pages, but it took longer than the entire works of Shakespeare, followed by the King James Bible and War and Peace, to read and was only vaguely more entertaining than the complete works of Barbara Cartland.

Sorry, not for me. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | May 24, 2011 |
fantastic and ageless ( )
  RavRita | Oct 13, 2009 |
This little book of essays punctured my reluctance to tackle anything written more than a hundred years ago. What a foolish prejudice!

From the essay "Indian Jugglers": "No man is truly great, who is great only in his lifetime." Which brought to mind modern celebrity and the petty inflations of the media, with whom Hazlitt was familar in his own time, dissecting the great and ungreat personages, and the qualities that made them so, and not.

From "On the Spirit of Monarchy": "The right and the wrong are of little consequence, compared to the in and the out," discussing in this acerbic essay courts and kings; relevant to contemporary life, if not the enduring state of social affairs in whatever age.

"Reason and Imagination," a biting commentary on detached reasoning versus "natural feeling," with Hazlitt citing examples that bring to mind "enhanced interrogation"/torture, about which he writes (while discussing slavery): "Practices, the mention of which make the flesh creep, and that affront the light of day, ought to be put down the instant they are known, without inquiry and without repeal."

And the remarkable title essay, "On the Pleasure of Hating," which is so consistent and high-flying throughout that every phrase could be quoted and ruminated upon for its insight and application. ( )
8 vote copyedit52 | Dec 17, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Hazlittprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blythe, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chandler, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paulin, TomEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Contents: The fight -- The Indian jugglers -- On the spirit of monarchy -- What is the people? -- On reason and imagination -- On the pleasure of hating

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