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Title: Echoing as self-fashioning in the essay : Hazlitt’s quoting and misquoting of Shakespeare
Other Titles: L’écho comme trait stylitique de l’essai : les citations de Shakespeare dans l’œuvre de Hazlitt
Authors: Aquilina, Mario
Keywords: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation
English literature -- Early modern, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism
English literature -- History and criticism
Hazlitt, William, 1778-1830 -- Criticism and interpretation
Authors, English -- 19th century
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: OpenEdition Journals
Citation: Aquilina, M. (2018). Echoing as Self-Fashioning in the Essay: Hazlitt’s Quoting and Misquoting of Shakespeare. Polysèmes. Revue d’études Intertextuelles et Intermédiales, 20. DOI : 10.4000/polysemes.4262
Abstract: The personal essay form has traditionally been shaped by two formidable forces, pulling in what may seem like diametrically opposed directions: the centrality of the self and a shared literary culture. This essay explores these contrary dynamics: the centripetal force that pulls the world towards the essayist and the centrifugal veering of the essayist towards a shared community of writing through the echoing of others. It does this by looking at William Hazlitt (1778–1830) and, more specifically, at Hazlitt’s assiduous echoing of Shakespeare in his personal essays. Hazlitt does not simply echo Shakespeare repeatedly, but he often misquotes him or adapts his words, rarely citing him by name. The nature and function of these misquotations are key considerations in this essay, in which it is claimed that Hazlitt’s misquotations of Shakespeare are not simply errors but a signature element of an essayistic style marked by an echoing that recalls the well-known original—thus appealing to the relevance of that which is already known by his readers—while veering from it, over and over again, into new directions as a form of self-fashioning through style.
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