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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 ]

Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail;
  Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Tragedy of Irene (prologue)

'Tis not the wholesome sharp mortality,
  Or modest anger of a satiric spirit,
    That hurts or wounds the body of a state,
      But the sinister application
        Of the malicious, ignorant, and base
          Interpreter; who will distort and strain
            The general scope and purpose of an author
              To his particular and private spleen.
      - Ben Jonson, Poetaster (act V, sc. 1)

Criticism even should not be without its charms. When quite devoid of all amenities, it is no longer literary.
      - Joseph Joubert

Criticism is as often a trade as a science; it requiring more health than wit, more labor than capacity, more practice than genius.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

The pleasure of criticism takes from us that of being deeply moved by very beautiful things.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

Lynx-eyes toward our equals, and moles to ourselves.
  [Fr., Lynx envers nos pareils, et taupes envers nous.]
      - Jean de la Fontaine, Fables (I, 7)

Criticism is a life without risk.
      - John Lahr

Criticism of our contemporaries is not criticism; it is conversation.
      - attributed to Francois Elie Jules Lemaitre,
        in the "New York Times"

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.
      - Abraham Lincoln

People who like this sort of thing will find this is the sort of thing they like.
      - Abraham Lincoln

Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather than its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as the bad heart of Procrustes turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The strength of criticism lies only in the weakness of the thing criticized.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh
         (ch. XIII)

Comparative criticism teaches us that moral and aesthetic defects are more nearly related than is commonly supposed.
      - James Russell Lowell

A wise scepticism is the first attribute of a good critic.
      - James Russell Lowell,
        Among My Books--Shakespeare Once More

Nature fits all her children with something to do,
  He who would write and can't write, can surely review;
    Can set up a small booth as critic and sell us his
      Petty conceit and his pettier jealousies.
      - James Russell Lowell, Fable for Critics

In truth it may be laid down as an almost universal rule that good poets are bad critics.
      - Thomas Babington Macaulay,
        Criticisms on the Principal Italian Writers--Dante

The opinion of the great body of the reading public is very materially influenced even by the unsupported assertions of those who assume a right to criticize.
      - Thomas Babington Macaulay,
        Mr. Robert Montgomery's Poems

Criticism is prejudice made plausible.
      - Henry Louis Mencken

How many people would like to get up in a social prayer-meeting to say a few words for Christ, but there is such a cold spirit of criticism in the church that they dare not do it.
      - Dwight Lyman Moody, Secret Power
         (ch. 1 - The Boon of Victory)

To check young Genius' proud career,
  The slaves who now his throne invaded,
    Made Criticism his prime Vizier,
      And from that hour his glories faded.
      - Thomas Moore, Genius and Criticism (st. 4)

The generous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire,
  And taught the world with reason to admire.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. I, l. 100)

Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. I, l. 6)

The line too labours, and the words move slow.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. II, l. 171)

A perfect Judge will read each work of Wit
  With the same spirit that its author writ:
    Survey the Whole, nor seek slight faults to find
      Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. II, l. 235)

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