Eliot believes emphatically that the true purpose of criticism is for the critic to present the facts of the work being assessed to the reader. In this he means the technical facts related to the work itself and not facts about its creator. Such details are insignificant. The true critic is objective and open-minded and turns attention from the artist to his work. The critic therefore assesses the work itself and is not concerned about or influenced by any factors related to the artist.
In this regard then, it is essential that the critic is knowledgeable about the 'facts' related to a work of art, i.e. its setting, structure, origin etc. This knowledge, Eliot emphasises, is a rare gift and can only be developed over an extensive period of time.
Furthermore, the critic should have a highly developed sense of tradition. Eliot viewed all forms literature, from the past to the present, as forming part of the same stream and the critic should understand this connection. A work of art therefore, is not isolated from its tradition or history.
The function of the critic is to not just criticize a work of art or to pass judgment, but to present the facts so that the reader may make his or her own judgment. The critic should be able to compare different works of art and present his findings objectively. In this manner, the critic provides the reader the opportunity to develop his or her own aesthetic sense and intellect. As such, the reader would have greater insight into the work and have a deeper appreciation thereof.
Therefore, the function of criticism is to inform and educate (within the parameters provided above) and not to judge.