This is not about architecture. Unlike some off-topic posts I write, there is no way to fabricate a link to this post’s normal subject matter. So far as I know, William Hazlitt, the critic of early 19th century London, friend of Charles Lamb and frenemy of Wordsworth and Coleridge, never wrote a single word about architecture.
But Hazlitt’s been my favorite writer since the mid-1970s, when I was introduced to him by my great college chum at Mizzou, Bradley Miller, or “The Fabulous Sage,” as he has styled himself lo these many decades. Brad is my only friend from my college days, and the fact that he turned me on to Hazlitt (and Mencken) is the only thing I got from college. Oh, one other thing. I went to a small college in a small town, a small college in a large town, a large college in a small town and a large college in a large town – in that order: Kalamazoo, Emerson, University of Misery at Columbia, and American University. To be able to tick that off at cocktail parties is the only other thing I got from school(s), except for a degree in journalism, which was less than useless.
Earlier today, trying to recall the name of a literary blog, I typed “literary blogs” into Google and stumbled on something called Hazlitt Magazine. I went to its web page and found absolutely no connection to William Hazlitt aside from the magazine’s title – not the name of the publisher or any of the leading editors, no article about Hazlitt or about any subject that might have caught the critic’s fancy, no hint in the blog’s “About” section of why the title of the magazine – apparently published in Toronto – is Hazlitt.
It’s a mystery. I tried going to Hazlitt’s Facebook site. I wrote a message asking why the magazine is called Hazlitt. I wasn’t able to send my message for some reason (I have a Facebook page but I never go there). I just asked my question of the publisher, Jared Bland, on Twitter. No answer yet.
So how did I find Hazlitt? Riveting! No, I mean how’d I locate the magazine Hazlitt? When I went to Google and typed in “literary blogs,” the first thing was an article listing ten literary blogs that every twentysomething should read. (Not a very promising start.) But No. 5 was called Hazlitt. So I visited the site and that’s where the mystery began.
Meanwhile, failing at every turn to find a link between Hazlitt and Hazlitt, I emailed my friend Brad to inform him of the existence of this magazine. I have not heard back from Brad, perhaps because he had cataract surgery yesterday. (I am having the same thing on July 11. So this blog might be a bit slender for a few days after.)
And now I must read to my little boy Billy – whose taste at age 9 is not Hazlitt but Diary of a Wimpy Kid – so I don’t have enough time to urge readers to read Hazlitt. Those who do will be amply rewarded. But try the magazine. I am now half way through a fascinating essay on the real kidnapping that inspired Nabokov’s Lolita. To judge by the titles, Hazlitt seems quite enticing. So, yes, read Hazlitt, too!
Next stop, architecture. (I promise!)
Maybe it’s a neologism like Hazmat (Hazardous Material).
Hazlitt (Hazardous Literature).
Ha ha! That’s good, very good!