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.
Best Quotes about Criticism
One ought to examine himself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.
Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
Franklin P. Jones
In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising.
Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.
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
Any authentic work of art must start an argument between the artist and his audience.
Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.
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.
He who throws dirt always loses ground.
You should not say it is not good. You should say you do not like it; and then, you know, you're perfectly safe.
Whistler, James Mcneill
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
If I care to listen to every criticism, let alone act on them, then this shop may as well be closed for all other businesses. I have learned to do my best, and if the end result is good then I do not care for any criticism, but if the end result is not good, then even the praise of ten angels would not make the difference.
One does not lash hat lies at a distance. The foibles that we ridicule must at least be a little bit our own. Only then will the work be a part of our own flesh. The garden must be weeded.
Criticism should be a casual conversation.
Auden, W. H.
They condemn what they do not understand.
Cicero, Marcus T.
There are two insults no human will endure. The assertion that he has no sense of humor and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble.
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
One cannot review a bad book without showing off.
W. H. Auden
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.
No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy.
Olivier, Sir Lawrence
Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.
Criticism, as it was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant as a standard of judging well.
Did some more sober critics come abroad? If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.
Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead.
A drama critic is a person who surprises the playwright by informing him what he meant.
Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you'll be a mile away and have his shoes.
Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world -- though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst -- the cant of criticism is the most tormenting!
Recognize the cunning man not by the corpses he pays homage to but by the living writers he conspires against with the most shameful weapon, Silence, or the briefest review.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so.
Criticism is often not a science; it is a craft, requiring more good health than wit, more hard work than talent, more habit than native genius. In the hands of a man who has read widely but lacks judgment, applied to certain subjects it can corrupt both its readers and the writer himself.
Bruyere, Jean De La
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.
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.
Those who have free seats at a play hiss first.
On an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one's mind. It becomes a pleasure.
Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
It is very perplexing how an intrepid frontier people, who fought a wilderness, floods, tornadoes, and the Rockies, cower before criticism, which is regarded as a malignant tumor in the imagination.
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.
To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
I never met anybody who said when they were a kid, "I wanna grow up and be a critic."
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.
It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
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.
All my life people have said that I wasn't going to make it.
Unlike other people, our reviewers are powerful because they believe in nothing.
One of the grotesqueries of present-day American life is the amount of reasoning that goes into displaying the wisdom secreted in bad movies while proving that modern art is meaningless. They have put into practice the notion that a bad art work cleverly interpreted according to some obscure Method is more rewarding than a masterpiece wrapped in silence.
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