Writing prejudicial, off-putting reviews is a precise exercise in applied black magic. The reviewer can draw free-floating disagreeable associations to a book by implying that the book is completely unimportant without saying exactly why, and carefully avoiding any clear images that could capture the reader's full attention.
Best Quotes about Criticism
You know lots of criticism is written by characters who are very academic and think it is a sign you are worthless if you make jokes or kid or even clown. I wouldn't kid Our Lord if he was on the cross. But I would attempt a joke with him if I ran into him chasing the money changers out of the temple.
Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs.
Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs.
Post-modernism has cut off the present from all futures. The daily media add to this by cutting off the past. Which means that critical opinion is often orphaned in the present.
Blame is safer than praise.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works.
A friend is a lot of things, but a critic isn't.
The rule in carving holds good as to criticism; never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon.
Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.
In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising.
When a man spends his time giving his wife criticism and advice instead of compliments, he forgets that it was not his good judgment, but his charming manners, that won her heart.
People want you to be a crazy, out-of-control teen brat. They want you miserable, just like them. They don't want heroes; what they want is to see you fall.
We protest against unjust criticism but we accept unarmed applause.
Most critical writing is drivel and half of it is dishonest. It is a short cut to oblivion, anyway. Thinking in terms of ideas destroys the power to think in terms of emotions and sensations.
A man generally has the good or ill qualities he attributes to mankind.
Professional critics are incapable of distinguishing and appreciating either diamonds in the rough or gold in bars. They are traders, and in literature know only the coins that are current. Their critical lab has scales and weights, but neither crucible or touchstone.
If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
Let me walk three weeks in the footsteps of my enemy, carry the same burden, have the same trials as he, before I say one word to criticize.
No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy.
Olivier, Sir Lawrence
All the critics who could not make their reputations by discovering you are hoping to make them by predicting hopefully your approaching impotence, failure and general drying up of natural juices. Not a one will wish you luck or hope that you will keep on writing unless you have political affiliations in which case these will rally around and speak of you and Homer, Balzac, Zola and Link Steffens.
I remember when I was in college, people told me I couldn't play in the NBA. There's always somebody saying you can't do it, and those people have to be ignored.
Honest criticism is hard to take, especially from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
Jones, Franklin P.
Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job. It not only involves praising trash but constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feeling whatever.
For if there is anything to one's praise, it is foolish vanity to be gratified at it, and if it is abuse -- why one is always sure to hear of it from one damned good-natured friend or another!
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley
What we ask of him is, that he should find out for us more than we can find out for ourselves. He must have the passion of a lover.
When I am abroad, I always make it a rule to never criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship.
Some people are always critical of vague statements. I tend rather to be critical of precise statements; they are the only ones which can correctly be labeled wrong.
I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works. An assault upon a town is a bad thing; but starving it is still worse.
Much literary criticism comes from people for whom extreme specialization is a cover for either grave cerebral inadequacy or terminal laziness, the latter being a much cherished aspect of academic freedom.
Galbraith, John Kenneth
A critic is a man who knows the way, but can't drive the car.
Criticism should be a casual conversation.
Auden, W. H.
It is impossible to think of a man of any actual force and originality, universally recognized as having those qualities, who spent his whole life appraising and describing the work of other men.
Mencken, H. L.
Unless criticism refuses to take itself quite so seriously or at least to permit its readers not to, it will inevitably continue to reflect the finicky canons of the genteel tradition and the depressing pieties of the Culture Religion of Modernism.
There are two modes of criticism. One which crushes to earth without mercy all the humble buds of Phantasy, all the plants that, though green and fruitful, are also a prey to insects or have suffered by drought. It weeds well the garden, and cannot believe the weed in its native soil may be a pretty, graceful plant. There is another mode which enters into the natural history of every thing that breathes and lives, which believes no impulse to be entirely in vain, which scrutinizes circumstances, motive and object before it condemns, and believes there is a beauty in natural form, if its law and purpose be understood.
The easiest thing a human being can do is to criticize another human being.
Little, Lynn M.
Even the lion has to defend himself against flies.
One ought to examine himself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.
People who ask for your criticism want only praise.
Maugham, W. Somerset
Most of our censure of others is only oblique praise of self, uttered to show the wisdom and superiority of the speaker. It has all the invidiousness of self-praise, and all the ill-desert of falsehood.
Each generation produces its squad of moderns with peashooters to attack Gibraltar.
The great critic must be a philosopher, for from philosophy he will learn serenity, impartiality, and the transitoriness of human things.
Maugham, W. Somerset
Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
After all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others.
Give me the critic bred in Nature's school, who neither talks by rote, nor thinks by rule; who feeling's honest dictates still obeys, and dares, without a precedent, to praise.
Shee, Sir Martin Archer
Since we cannot attain unto it, let us revenge ourselves with railing against it.
Montaigne, Michel Eyquem De
A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say, Oh, I don't like it. One might say it's the best muffin ever made. One might say it's an awful muffin. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin.
It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
Essays, entitled critical, are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions.
Having a sharp tongue will cut your throat
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