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Title: Hazlitt the Dissenter : religion, philosophy, and politics, 1766-1816
Author: Burley, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 9350
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis offers a thorough reassessment of the intellectual development and early literary career of William Hazlitt (1778-1830), exploring the religious, philosophical, and political culture from which his early writings emerged. In particular, it focuses on the ways in which the intellectual traditions of late eighteenth-century liberal dissent exerted a profound and abiding influence on his work. Hazlitt spent the first seventeen years of his life preparing to become a dissenting minister. His mind developed amidst the tightly-knit networks of provincial, metropolitan and transatlantic dissent in which his father moved and, at the age of fifteen, he entered New College, Hackney, where he received his formal education under leading nonconformist intellectuals including Joseph Priestley, Thomas Belsham, Abraham Rees, and Andrew Kippis. The thesis explores the ways in which these formative experiences shaped his thought and influenced his early work. Chapter One charts the progress of Hazlitt Sr.‟s literary and ministerial career in an attempt to elucidate the intellectual relationship between father and son. Chapter Two focuses on Hazlitt‟s experiences at New College, Hackney from 1793 to 1795 as it examines the significance of his early encounter with the political, religious and philosophical radicalism of 1790s London. Chapter Three charts the evolution of Hazlitt‟s philosophical thought from the "metaphysical discovery‟ he made as a student at New College to his formulation of "a new system of metaphysics‟ in his lectures and writings from 1805 to 1813. Finally, Chapter Four assesses his contribution to the emergent culture of political radicalism in the early nineteenth century. In drawing upon newly attributed writings by Hazlitt and his father, and 3 an array of previously neglected printed and archival sources, the thesis presents a reappraisal of Hazlitt‟s debt to his formative experiences of liberal dissent, and to the wider contours of late eighteenth-century intellectual life. In doing so, it looks to contribute both to Hazlitt scholarship, and to a broader understanding of the literary, cultural, and intellectual history of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature