I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.

It’s Thanksgiving time, and we’d like to be thankful for a group that is rarely appreciated: critics. In the ocean that is the Literary World, some say that the critics are the sharks. Or the barracuda. I prefer to think of them as Killer Whales: massive, frightening and deadly, but also magnificent. And perhaps trapped in the cages of universities and writing programs.

Being a critic has helped many writers start their careers or supplement their incomes. I’d like to recognize some great authors who have also been professional critics, with perhaps some of the most vitriolic writing:

T.S. Elliot, who was a literary theorist and published multiple essays and books on literature.

Edgar Allen Poe, who edited Southern Literary Messenger, one of the first American literary magazines.

Alexander Pope, whose lambasting of Thomas Shadwell in The Dunciad has become one of our most loved poems.

So, thank you critics, for your hard and often-unappreciated work.

-Philip LaMaster