Experience has not taught me very much; still it has taught me that it
is not wise to criticise a piece of literature, except to an enemy of
the person who wrote it; then, if you praise it, that enemy admires you
for your honest manliness, & if you dispraise it he admires you for
your sound judgment.
I like criticism, but it must be my way.
...one mustn't criticize other people on grounds where he can't stand
I have criticized absent people so often, and then discovered, to my
humiliation, that I was talking with their relatives, that I have grown
superstitious about that sort of thing and dropped it.
A man with a hump-backed uncle mustn't make fun of another man's cross-eyed
- "Mark Twain on England", New York World N.D.; reprinted in Hartford Courant, 5/14/1879
Criticism is a queer thing. If I print "She was stark naked" - & then proceeded to describe her person in detail, what critic would not howl?--who would venture to leave the book on a parlor table.--but the artist does this & all ages gather around & look & talk & point. I can't say, "They cut his head off, or stabbed him, &c" describe the blood & the agony in his face.
- Notebook #18, Feb. - Sept. 1879
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