Best Quotes about Criticism
You know what the critics are. If you tell the truth they only say you're cynical and it does an author no good to get a reputation for cynicism.
Maugham, W. Somerset
Never make the mistake of assuming the critters will beat a path to your door.
Mascotte, John P.
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.
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.
Without the meditative background that is criticism, works become isolated gestures, historical accidents, soon forgotten.
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.
Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.
Shelley, Percy Bysshe
Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting.
Fox, Dr. Emmit
No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not work those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself.
Tennyson, Lord Alfred
Let us consider the critic, therefore, as a discoverer of discoveries.
Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.
Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- criticize.
In an age of unscrupulous and shameless book-making, it is a duty to give notice of the rubbish that cumbers the ground. There is no credit, no real power required for this task. It is the work of an intellectual scavenger, and far from being specially honorable.
Hutton, R. H.
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.
Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
Criticism should be a casual conversation.
Auden, W. H.
One cannot review a bad book without showing off.
W. H. Auden
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.
He cannot be strict in judging, who does not wish others to be strict judges of himself.
Cicero, Marcus T.
No degree of dullness can safeguard a work against the determination of critics to find it fascinating.
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.
No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy.
Olivier, Sir Lawrence
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture; it's a really stupid thing to want to do.
Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.
Lawrence, D. H.
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.
Burroughs, William S.
Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The biggest critics of my books are people who never read them.
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.
In judging others, folks will work overtime for no pay.
Carruthers, Charles Edwin
Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense. He whom nature has made weak, and idleness keeps ignorant, may yet support his vanity by the name of a critic.
Critics are already made.
There is an air of last things, a brooding sense of impending annihilation, about so much deconstructive activity, in so many of its guises; it is not merely postmodernist but preapocalyptic.
That is what the highest criticism really is, the record of one's own soul. It is more fascinating than history, as it is concerned simply with oneself. It is more delightful than philosophy, as its subject is concrete and not abstract, real and not vague. It is the only civilized form of autobiography.
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.
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 I make a move, like raise my eyebrows, some critic says I'm doing Nicholson. What am I supposed to do, cut off my eyebrows?
Culture is only true when implicitly critical, and the mind which forgets this revenges itself in the critics it breeds. Criticism is an indispensable element of culture.
Adorno, Theodor W.
Criticism, that fine flower of personal expression in the garden of letters.
You're never s good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.
I demand that my books be judged with utmost severity, by knowledgeable people who know the rules of grammar and of logic, and who will seek beneath the footsteps of my commas the lice of my thought in the head of my style.
The greatest honor that can be paid to the work of art, on its pedestal of ritual display, is to describe it with sensory completeness. We need a science of description. Criticism is ceremonial revivification.
The strength of criticism lies in the weakness of the thing criticized.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
The author himself is the best judge of his own performance; none has so deeply meditated on the subject; none is so sincerely interested in the event.
It is from the womb of art that criticism was born.
The person of analytic or critical intellect finds something ridiculous in everything. The person of synthetic or constructive intellect, in almost nothing.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von
A critic is a man who knows the way, but can't drive the car.
In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.
Of course you're always at liberty to judge the critic. Judge people as critics, however, and you'll condemn them all!
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
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