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[ Also see Accusation Authorship Books Calumny Censure Contempt Critics Detraction Journalism Literature Opinion Plagiarism Poetry Praise Publishing Quotations Reading Reproof Ridicule Sarcasm Satire Style ]

When I read the rules of criticism, I immediately inquire after the works of the author who has written them, and by that means discover what it is he likes in a composition.
      - Joseph Addison, in the "Guardian", no. 115

The exercise of criticism always destroys for a time our sensibility to beauty by leading us to regard the work in relation to certain laws of construction. The eye turns from the charms of nature to fix itself upon the servile dexterity of art.
      - Sir Archibald Alison

Criticism is above all a gift, an intuition, a matter of tact and flair; it cannot be taught or demonstrated--it is an art.
      - Henri-Frederic Amiel

Sympathy is the first condition of criticism; reason and justice presuppose, at their origin, emotion.
      - Henri-Frederic Amiel

There are some books and characters so pleasant, or rather which contain so much that is pleasant, that criticism is perplexed or silent. The hounds are perpetually at fault among the sweet-scented herbs and flowers that grow at the base of Etna.
      - John Frederick Boyes

He was in Logic, a great critic,
  Profoundly skill'd in Analytic;
    He could distinguish, and divide
      A hair 'twixt south and south-west side.
      - Samuel Butler (1), Hudibras
         (pt. I, canto I, l. 65)

The role in carving holds good as to criticism: never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon.
      - Charles Buxton

The rule in carving holds good as to criticism; never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon.
      - Charles Buxton

Thou shalt not write, in short, but what I choose.
  This is true criticism, and you may kiss,
    Exactly as you please, or not, the rod.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

A man must serve his time to every trade
  Save censure--critics all are ready made.
    Take hackney'd jokes from Miller, got by rote,
      With just enough of learning to misquote;
        A mind well skill'd to find or forge a fault;
          A turn for punning, call it Attic salt;
            To Jeffrey go, be silent and discreet,
              His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet;
                Fear not to lie, 'twill seem a lucky hit;
                  Shrink not from blasphemy, 'twill pass for wit;
                    Care not for feeling--pass your proper jest,
                      And stand a critic, hated yet caress'd.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        English Bards and Scotch Reviewers
         (l. 63)

As soon
  Seek roses in December--ice in June,
    Hope, constancy in wind, or corn in chaff;
      Believe a woman or an epitaph,
        Or any other thing that's false, before
          You trust in critics.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        English Bards and Scotch Reviewers
         (l. 75)

Said the pot to the kettle, "Get away, blackface."
  [Sp., Dijo la sarten a la caldera, quitate alla ojinegra.]
      - Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra),
        Don Quixote (II, 67)

Who shall dispute what the Reviewers say?
  Their word's sufficient; and to ask a reason,
    In such a state as theirs, is downright treason.
      - Charles Churchill, Apology (l. 94)

Though by whim, envy, or resentment led,
  They damn those authors whom they never read.
      - Charles Churchill, The Candidate (l. 57)

A servile race
  Who, in mere want of fault, all merit place;
    Who blind obedience pay to ancient schools,
      Bigots to Greece, and slaves to musty rules.
      - Charles Churchill, The Rosciad (l. 183)

But, spite of all the criticising elves,
  Those who would make us feel, must feel themselves.
      - Charles Churchill, The Rosciad (l. 961)

I criticize by creation--not by finding fault.
      - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short)

The public only takes up yesterday as a stick to beat today.
      - Jean Cocteau

Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, biographers, etc., if they could: they have tried their talents at one or the other, and have failed; therefore they turn critics.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
        Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton
         (p. 36)

Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part,
  Nature in him was almost lost in art.
      - William Collins,
        Epistle to Sir Thomas Hanmer on his Edition of Shakespeare

Criticism is like champagne, nothing more execrable if bad, nothing more excellent if good; if meagre, muddy, vapid and sour, both are fit only to engender colic and wind; but if rich, generous and sparkling, they communicate a genial glow to the spirits, improve the taste, and expand the heart.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

In the whole range of literature nothing is more entertaining, and, I might add, more instructive, than sound, legitimate criticism, the disinterested convictions of a man of sensibility, who enters rather into the spirit, than the letter of his author, who can follow him to the height of his compass, and while he sympathizes with every brilliant power, and genuine passion of the poet, is not so far carried out of himself as to indulge his admiration at the expense of his judgment, but who can afford us the double pleasure of being first pleased with his author, and secondly with himself, for having given us such just and incontrovertible reason for our approbation.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Modern criticism discloses that which it would fain conceal, but conceals that which it professes to disclose; it is therefore read by the discerning, not to discover the merits of an author, but the motives of his critic.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

There are come Critics so with Spleen diseased,
  They scarcely come inclining to be pleased:
    And sure he must have more than mortal Skill,
      Who please one against his Will.
      - William Congreve, The Way of the World

Criticism is not construction, it is observation.
      - George William Curtis

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