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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

5284 Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834 John Bartlett

AUTHOR:Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
QUOTATION:Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, biographers, if they could; they have tried their talents at one or the other, and have failed; therefore they turn critics. 1
ATTRIBUTION:Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton, p. 36. Delivered 1811–1812.
Note 1.
Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.—Percy Bysshe Shelley: Fragments of Adonais.

You know who critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art.—Benjamin Disraeli (Earl Beaconsfield): Lothair, chap. xxxv. [back]