Saint-Evremond has earned a place in the history of seventeenth-century dramatic criticism as a fervent admirer of Corneille and a hostile critic of Racine. His strong affinity for Molière is less well-known, because he wrote very little about him. Not considering himself a professional author, he never felt the need to give full expression to his opinions on literature, or on any subject. In his youth he was primarily a railleur; as literary criticism, his first work, La Comédie des académistes, is a pungent satirical attack on pretension, triviality, and excessive concern with minutiae of vocabulary and technique. The satirical impulse remains present, in a more subdued form, in most of his later works. He probes into the weaknesses of ancient and modern literatures more frequently than he celebrates their merits. His discussions of authors he particularly admires, Montaigne, Voiture, Malherbe, Cervantes, are very brief. Most of his critical essays are directed against aberrations in judgment, insufficiencies, and misconceptions. Dissertation sur Alexandre, Sur les caractères des tragédies, A un auteur qui me demandait mon sentiment d'une pièce où l'héroïne ne faisait que se lamenter, Discours sur les historiens français, Sur nos comédies, De la comédie italienne, Sur les opéras, Observations sur le goüt et le discernement des français—all these are essays emphasizing various weaknesses in modern literature and taste. Réflexions sur nos traducteurs and Du merveilleux qui se trouve dans les poèmes des anciens are equally critical of certain aspects of ancient literature, while De la tragédie ancienne et moderne is an attack on both. It is true that a large part of his criticism of the drama deals with Corneille, whom he admired more than any other author, but his defense of Corneille often takes the form of an attack against the corrupt modern taste which has turned against him. His searching and critical mind preferred to contradict a generally accepted opinion, to reveal the hidden weaknesses of a universally admired work, rather than to define the qualities of the authors it enjoyed.