A review can be critical, but kind. In fact it should always be. It is all the kinder for being critical. Because it is for the author’s benefit that someone desires to tell him what is wrong with his work.
Any author who gets annoyed by a review that provides such is not worthy of the name. While a critic who is able to provide such a critique is worthy of our love. For he fulfills, with the greatest liberty, the duty of one’s best friend.
I am well aware that self-satisfaction blinds authors, that pride and pretentiousness twist their minds. But, from time to time, one can be found who is strong enough and close enough to reality to always agree with those who criticize him, and only rarely with those who praise him.
A work is not worthwhile due to the amount of conscience that its author has brought to it. Conscience alone cannot save a work of art, but a lack of conscience is the loss of a critic and of a critique.
Without the strength of judgment and assurance provided by conscience, one must depend, to make decisions, on one’s conceit and pretentiousness. Then instead of a thorough and fair critic, one will have a rather foolish conceited one.