According to Eliot's essay "The Function of Criticism," what are the tools and function of criticism? What is the most important function of a critic?

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T. S. Eliot's "The Function of Criticism" puts forth the thesis that effective critics should shun interpretation as a tool of criticism, because interpretation is always from the critic's imagination. Eliot argues that the only tools a critic should use are comparison and analysis, because effective criticism does not try to augment the work with subjective interpretations. He compares the tools of analysis and comparison to a cadaver; a fixed and self-contained entity. He mocks interpretive approaches as never-ending constructions of the imagination, "producing parts of the body from its pockets."

Eliot says the most important function of a critic is the "elucidation of works of art and the correction of taste"—in sum, clarifying the more obscure concepts of a work for a wide audience and evaluating whether the work is good or bad based on a common understanding of aesthetics.

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