• Full title:   Select British Poets, or New Elegant Extracts, from Chaucer to the Present Time, with Critical Remarks
  • Published:   1824 , London
  • Formats:  Book
  • Creator:   William*Hazlitt
  • Usage terms Public Domain
  • Held by  British Library
  • Shelfmark:   11601.i.13.


This anthology, published in 1825, brings together past and contemporary poets: William Wordsworth (1770–1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) alongside Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton. The anthology is edited by essayist and critic William Hazlitt, who has written a paragraph about each included poet.

William Wordsworth and Hazlitt

Hazlitt writes baldly that Wordsworth has ‘no fancy, no wit, no humour, little descriptive power, no dramatic power’. Yet his admiration for the poet is clear: he says he has a ‘power of raising the smallest things in nature into sublimity by the force of sentiment’. The implication is that Wordsworth’s power is the more remarkable for the qualities (fancy, wit etc.) that he lacks. In emphasising Wordsworth’s ‘sublimity’, Hazlitt echoes the poet’s own interest in the sublime. Elsewhere, he described Wordsworth’s ‘genius’ as a ‘pure emanation of the Spirit of the Age’.