Hunt, Leigh

Hunt, Leigh

▪ British author
in full  James Henry Leigh Hunt 
born Oct. 19, 1784, Southgate, Middlesex, Eng.
died Aug. 28, 1859, Putney, London

      English essayist, critic, journalist, and poet, who was an editor of influential journals in an age when the periodical was at the height of its power. He was also a friend and supporter of the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley (Shelley, Percy Bysshe) and John Keats (Keats, John). Hunt's poems, of which “Abou Ben Adhem” and his rondeau “Jenny Kissed Me” (both first published in 1838) are probably the best known, reflect his knowledge of French and Italian versification. His defense of Keats's work in the Examiner (June 1817) as “poetry for its own sake” was an important anticipation of the views of the Aesthetic movement.

      Hunt, at his best, in some essays and his Autobiography (1850; in part a rewriting of Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries, 1828), has a distinctive charm. He excels in perceptive judgments of his contemporaries, from Keats to Alfred, Lord Tennyson. As a Radical journalist, though not much interested in the details of politics, he attacked oppression with indignation.

      The poems in Juvenilia (1801), his first volume, show his love for Italian literature. He looked to Italy for a “freer spirit of versification” and translated a great deal of Italian poetry, and in The Story of Rimini (1816), published in the year of his meeting with Keats, he reintroduced a freedom of movement in English couplet verse lost in the 18th century. From him Keats derived his delight in colour and imaginative sensual experience and a first acquaintance with Italian poetry. Much of Hunt's best verse was published in Foliage (1818) and Hero and Leander, and Bacchus and Ariadne (1819).

      In 1808 Leigh Hunt and his brother John had launched the weekly Examiner, which advocated abolition of the slave trade, Catholic emancipation, and reform of Parliament and the criminal law. For their attacks on the unpopular prince regent, the brothers were imprisoned in 1813. Leigh Hunt, who continued to write The Examiner in prison, was regarded as a martyr in the cause of liberty. After his release (1815) he moved to Hampstead, home of Keats, whom he introduced in 1817 to Shelley, a friend since 1811. The Examiner supported the new Romantic poets against attacks by Blackwood's Magazine on what it called “the Cockney school of poetry,” supposedly led by Hunt.

      In Hunt's writings for the quarterly Reflector (1810–11), politics was combined with criticism of the theatre and of the fine arts, of which he had considerable knowledge. Imagination and Fancy (1844), his most sustained critical work, draws interesting parallels between painting and poetry. It was in the weekly Indicator (1819–21) and The Companion (1828), however, that Hunt published some of his best essays. He continued to write for periodicals until his death.

Additional Reading
Jeffrey N. Cox, Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School (1998); Edmund Blunden, Leigh Hunt (1930, reprinted 1970); Kenneth E. Kendall, Leigh Hunt's Reflector (1971); Ann Blainey, Immortal Boy (1985); Rodney Stenning Edgecombe, Leigh Hunt and the Poetry of Fancy (1994).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • HUNT, LEIGH —    essayist and poet; was of the Cockney school, a friend of Keats and Shelley; edited the Examiner, a Radical organ; was a busy man but a thriftless, and always in financial embarrassment, though latterly he had a fair pension; lived near… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Leigh Hunt — James Henry Leigh Hunt (19 de octubre de 1784 – 28 de agosto de 1859) fue un crítico, ensayista, poeta y escritor inglés. Contenido …   Wikipedia Español

  • Leigh Hunt — noun British writer who defended the Romanticism of Keats and Shelley (1784 1859) • Syn: ↑Hunt, ↑James Henry Leigh Hunt • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * Leigh Hunt …   Useful english dictionary

  • Leigh Hunt — James Henry Leigh Hunt (* 19. Oktober 1784 in Southgate; † 28. August 1859 in Putney) war ein englischer Schriftsteller. Hunt (spr. hönnt) ließ schon als Schüler der Christ s Hospital Schule in London mehrere Essays and juvenile poems im …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leigh Hunt (disambiguation) — Leigh Hunt may refer to: *Leigh Hunt (1784–1859), English essayist and poet *Leigh S. J. Hunt, (1854–1933), American educator, president of Iowa State University, 1885–1886 *Barbara Leigh Hunt (born 1935), English actress *Ronald Leigh Hunt… …   Wikipedia

  • Leigh-Hunt — ist der Name folgender Personen: Barbara Leigh Hunt (* 1935), britische Theater , Fernseh und Filmschauspielerin Ronald Leigh Hunt (1916–2005), britischer Schauspieler Siehe auch: Leigh Hunt (James Henry Leigh Hunt; 1784–1859), englischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leigh — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Augusta Leigh (1783−1851), britische Aristokratin und Halbschwester des Dichters Lord Byron Barbara Leigh Hunt (* 1935), britische Theater , Fernseh und Filmschauspielerin Benjamin W. Leigh (1781–1849), US …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leigh Hunt — James Henry Leigh Hunt (19 octobre 1784 28 août 1859) était un essayiste et un écrivain britannique. Le personnage de Leigh Hunt apparaît aux côtés de ceux de John Keats dans un livre appelé les Cantos d Hyperion, du romancier américain …   Wikipédia en Français

  • HUNT (J. H. L.) — HUNT JOHN HENRY LEIGH (1784 1859) Poète et journaliste, polygraphe, ardent controversiste, l’écrivain anglais Leigh Hunt demeure sans doute une figure de second plan, mais sympathique. Ami courageux des jeunes poètes et prosateurs dont il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hunt (Familienname) — Hunt ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A Andy Hunt …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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