In "The Critic as Artist," Oscar Wilde declares that the critic's artistic capabilities are as important as those of the artist. Wilde's passionate defense of the aesthetics of art criticism is among the wide-ranging and thought-provoking essays of this original collection, in which noted writers discuss the role of criticism in English and American literature. Contents include Edgar Allan Poe's "The Philosophy of Composition," in which the author draws upon his most famous poem, "The Raven," to illustrate his theories on writing; Matthew Arnold's "The Study of Poetry"; and commentaries on Shakespeare's plays by Samuel Johnson and Wordsworth's poetry by William Hazlitt. Walter Pater, whose work was highly influential on the writers of the Aesthetic Movement, is represented by an essay on style. Other selections include Mark Twain's satirical "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences" and the "Preface to Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman. Brief introductory notes accompany each essay.