William Hazlitt (1778-1830) was an English writer remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, often esteemed the greatest English literary critic after Samuel Johnson. Indeed, Hazlitt's writings and remarks on Shakespeare's plays and characters are rivalled only by those of Johnson in their depth, insight, originality, and imagination. Hazlitt came of Irish Protestant stock, and of a branch of it which moved in the reign of George I from the county of Antrim to Tipperary. In 1798 Hazlitt was introduced to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. He published several volumes of essays, including The Round Table and Characters of Shakespeare's Plays, both in 1817. His best-known work is The Spirit of the Age (1825), a collection of portraits of his contemporaries, including Lamb, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Jeremy Bentham, and Sir Walter Scott.