Best Quotes about Criticism
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
The great critic must be a philosopher, for from philosophy he will learn serenity, impartiality, and the transitoriness of human things.
Maugham, W. Somerset
To criticize is to appreciate, to appropriate, to take intellectual possession, to establish in fine a relation with the criticized thing and to make it one's own.
There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic.
Any authentic work of art must start an argument between the artist and his audience.
It is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shouting at you.
Wilson, Woodrow T.
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
People who ask for your criticism want only praise.
Maugham, W. Somerset
If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.
Of course you're always at liberty to judge the critic. Judge people as critics, however, and you'll condemn them all!
Literary criticism can be no more than a reasoned account of the feeling produced upon the critic by the book he is criticizing. Criticism can never be a science: it is, in the first place, much too personal, and in the second, it is concerned with values that science ignores. The touchstone is emotion, not reason. We judge a work of art by its effect on our sincere and vital emotion, and nothing else. All the critical twiddle-twaddle about style and form, all this pseudoscientific classifying and analyzing of books in an imitation-botanical fashion, is mere impertinence and mostly dull jargon.
Lawrence, D. H.
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.
You should never assume contempt for that which it is not very manifest that you have it in your power to possess, nor does a wit ever make a more contemptible figure than when, in attempting satire, he shows that he does not understand that which he would make the subject of his ridicule.
The whole effort of a sincere man is to erect his personal impressions into laws.
Gourmont, Remy De
The dread of criticism is the death of genius.
Simms, William Gilmore
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 easiest thing a human being can do is to criticize another human being.
Little, Lynn M.
As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation.
No sadder proof can be given of a person's own tiny stature, than their disbelief in great people.
Did some more sober critics come abroad? If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
Honest criticism means nothing: what one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire.
The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art -- and, by analogy, our own experience -- more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.
Men over forty are no judges of a book written in a new spirit.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nothing would improve newspaper criticism so much as the knowledge that it was to be read by men too hardy to acquiesce in the authoritative statement of the reviewer.
Hutton, R. H.
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.
The critical opinions of a writer should always be taken with a large grain of salt. For the most part, they are manifestations of his debate with himself as to what he should do next and what he should avoid.
Auden, W. H.
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.
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.
A negative judgment gives you more satisfaction than praise, provided it smacks of jealousy.
Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.
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.
Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings.
We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.
Beecher, Henry Ward
A critic is a man who knows the way, but can't drive the car.
A reader who quarrels with postulates, who dislikes Hamlet because he does not believe that there are ghosts or that people speak in pentameters, clearly has no business in literature. He cannot distinguish fiction from fact, and belongs in the same category as the people who send checks to radio stations for the relief of suffering heroines in soap operas.
He who throws dirt always loses ground.
Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
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.
God knows people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick; camp following eunuchs of literature. They won't even whore. They're all virtuous and sterile. And how well meaning and high minded. But they're all camp followers.
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.
In my conscience I believe the baggage loves me, for she never speaks well of me herself, nor suffers any body else to rail at me.
A good drama critic is one who perceives what is happening in the theatre of his time. A great drama critic also perceives what is not happening.
If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge
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.
Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.
A drama critic is a person who surprises the playwright by informing him what he meant.
Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture; it's a really stupid thing to want to do.
Criticism, that fine flower of personal expression in the garden of letters.
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