There is a certain race of men, that either imagine it their duty, or make it their amusement, to hinder the reception of every work of learning or genius, who stand as sentinels in the avenues of fame, and value themselves upon giving ignorance and envy the first notice of a prey.
To these men, who distinguish themselves by the appellation of Critics, it is necessary for a new author to find some means of recommendation. It is probable, that the most malignant of these persecutors might be somewhat softened, and prevailed on, for a short time, to remit their fury. Having for this purpose considered many expedients, I find in the records of ancient times, that Argus was lulled by music, and Cerberus quieted with a sop; and am, therefore, inclined to believe that modern critics, who, if they have not the eyes, have the watchfulness of Argus, and can bark as loud as Cerberus, though, perhaps, they cannot bite with equal force, might be subdued by methods of the same kind. I have heard that some have been pacified with claret and a supper, and others laid asleep with the soft notes of flattery.—The Rambler.
I care not one single curse for all the criticism that ever was canted or decanted, or recanted. Neither does the world. The world takes a poet as it finds him, and seats him above or below the salt. The world is as obstinate as a million mules, and will not turn its head on one side or another for all the shouting of the critical population that ever was shouted. It is very possible that the world is a bad judge. Well, then— appeal to posterity, and be hanged to you—and posterity will affirm the judgment, with costs.—Noctes Ambrosianae, Sept., 1825.
Our current literature teems with thought and feeling,—with passion and imagination. There was Gifford, and there are Jeffrey, and Southey ... and twenty—forty—fifty—other crack contributors to the Reviews, Magazines and Gazettes, who have said more tender, and true, and fine, and deep things in the way of criticism, than ever was said before since the reign of Cadmus, ten thousand times over,—not in long, dull, heavy, formal, prosy theories—but flung off-hand, out of the glowing mint—a coinage of the purest ore—and stamped with the ineffaceable impress of genius.—Noctes Ambrosianae, April, 1829.
The cause of a wrong taste is a defect of judgment.
We must not underrate him who uses wit for subsistence, and flies from the ingratitude of the age even to a bookseller for redress. OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
The critical faculty is a rara avis; almost as rare, indeed, as the phoenix, which appears only once in five hundred years. ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER.
The Supreme Critic ... is ... that Unity, that Oversoul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other. R. W. EMERSON.