Washington Irving Rips Critics

From The Literature Network, here’s an excerpt from Desultory Thoughts On Criticism, a very funny essay written in 1839 by Sleepy Hollow legend Washington Irving:

“It is singular, also, to see the fickleness of the world with respect to its favorites. Enthusiasm exhausts itself, and prepares the way for dislike. The public is always for positive sentiments, and new sensations. When wearied of admiring, it delights to censure; thus coining a double set of enjoyments out of the same subject. Scott and Byron are scarce cold in their graves, and already we find criticism beginning to call in question those powers which held the world in magic thraldom. Even in our own country, one of its greatest geniuses has had some rough passages with the censors of the press; and instantly criticism begins to unsay all that it has repeatedly said in his praise; and the public are almost led to believe that the pen which has so often delighted them, is absolutely destitute of the power to delight!”

Read the entire essay