I believe it is important, on occasion, to say “we” in literary criticism. Here is an example: "We notice the high speed, the succession of concentrated images, each magnifying the original fancy" (Eliot, "Andrew Marvell"). There are only two alternatives to using "we" in these types of circumstances, and I find each of them unsatisfactory in some way. The first alternative is to withdraw “we” and substitute “human beings” or “subjects” or some equally vacuous word, but this drains away the notion that A) I, as the author, am implicated in the ideas I am discussing, and B) you, the reader, are included in the group of human beings similarly affected. “We” is a word that is particularly helpful in characterizing the nature of the critical endeavor. That is, this text lives in the moment your mind encounters my words. The critical text, like the literary one, is mutually constituted, and the word “we” fairly encompasses our relationship.
The second alternative is to remove the subject entirely. “Things occur” or “mistakes were made.” This type of usage negates our involvement in the world. Events become mechanistic. Cause and effect are set into motion by some mysterious force. Instead, I argue that “we” are active in the world, poets are active in their texts, and we are active in their interpretation. So, although it might go against some traditions of critical discourse, I believe we gain something useful in occasionally allowing the first-person plural into the text.