William Hazlitt was a penetrating literary critic. He is best known for his Characters of Shakespeare's Plays and Lectures on the English Poets. He's said to have had revolutionary sympathies and a tempestuous private life.
What's words worth?
Would the north/south divide have tripped up Thomas?
That Thomas I seems to had been accepted in smart London society was a real surprise to me. I was sure he must have spoken with a broad Cumbrian accent.
But Professor Wu said, "I don't see why Ostell would have had difficulty doing business with the London literati. As for his accent, Wordsworth would also have had one, don't forget. And given the prevalence of accents at the time, he wouldn't have been the only Londoner who advertised his origins through the sound of his voice.
"Hazlitt wouldn't have had any difficulty doing business with Ostell," continued Wu, "He too was from the provinces having been brought up largely in Shropshire, and may even have had a bit of an accent himself. He wasn't wealthy - quite the opposite in fact - and in 1809 was just starting out. My guess is that he was enormously grateful to find a publisher for The Eloquence."
"I was quite amazed that a boy of such humble origins had become a successful publisher and wondered where he could have received an education to fit him for such a profession"
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