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Thinking Through StyleNon-Fiction Prose of the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Michael D. Hurley and Marcus Waithe

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737827.001.0001

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Keeping to William Hazlitt

Keeping to William Hazlitt

Chapter:
(p.55) 3 Keeping to William Hazlitt
Source:
Thinking Through Style
Author(s):

Freya Johnston

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198737827.003.0004

Style, as this chapter shows, mattered to Hazlitt. A test of character, as of sensations and ideas, it bodied forth the relationships between human beings and the objects of their love, hatred, and indifference. As a stylistic principle, Hazlitt’s ideal of ‘keeping’ in prose descends from eighteenth-century conceptions of decorum in painting, the art in which he was initially trained; indeed, one of his distinctions as a prose stylist is his pictorial approach to the world. Among his other distinctive authorial qualities are combativeness, mobility, range, passionate self-division, and a tendency to overload his work with quotations from and allusions to other writers. His writing is both driven and absorptive.

Keywords:   Hazlitt, prose style, keeping, character, essay, grammar, preposition

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