This paper has two parts. In the first part, I discuss the controversy between dogmatism and impressionism, enumerating the avatars of subjective criticism from Anatole Franceto the most recent theorists of the essay. In the second part, I analyse Zarifopol’s criticism, focusing on his essay Gusturi şi judecăţi (O notă despre Proust). Paul Zarifopol champions a specific formula, that of „first-person criticism”, following partially the method of AnatoleFrance. But the differences between Zarifopol and France are notable. Both of them consider the essay to be the most appropriate form of literary criticism, but Paul Zarifopol represents better „the essayistic spirit”, as it is defined in the recent works of the genre.