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.
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
Critics are usually kinder to cheaper movies than to those they perceive to be big Hollywood releases. They cut you a lot more slack if you spend less money, which makes no sense.
People who ask for your criticism want only praise.
Maugham, W. Somerset
The critical method which denies literary modernity would appear -- and even, in certain respects, would be -- the most modern of critical movements.
Man, Paul De
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.
A negative judgment gives you more satisfaction than praise, provided it smacks of jealousy.
The strength of criticism lies in the weakness of the thing criticized.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Now, in reality, the world have paid too great a compliment to critics, and have imagined them to be men of much greater profundity than they really are.
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.
David Lynch came out of it a genius, and I came out of it a fat girl. I'm sorry that the only comment I get about the part is the way I look. [Commenting on the critics' response to her performance in Blue Velvet]
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture; it's a really stupid thing to want to do.
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.
We might remind ourselves that criticism is as inevitable as breathing, and that we should be none the worse for articulating what passes in our minds when we read a book and feel an emotion about it, for criticizing our own minds in their work of criticism.
Eliot, T. S.
A man generally has the good or ill qualities he attributes to mankind.
They will say you are on the wrong road, if it is your own.
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.
Men over forty are no judges of a book written in a new spirit.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
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.
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.
Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you're two steps ahead!
I consider criticism merely a preliminary excitement, a statement of things a writer has to clear up in his own head sometime or other, probably antecedent to writing; of no value unless it come to fruit in the created work later.
We protest against unjust criticism but we accept unarmed applause.
It is healthier, in any case, to write for the adults one's children will become than for the children one's mature critics often are.
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.
If what they are saying about you is true, mend your ways. If it isn't true, forget it, and go on and serve the Lord.
Ironside, H. A.
Praise those of your critics for whom nothing is up to standard.
Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings.
The easiest thing a human being can do is to criticize another human being.
Little, Lynn M.
All my life people have said that I wasn't going to make it.
A good review from the critics is just another stay of execution.
Of course you're always at liberty to judge the critic. Judge people as critics, however, and you'll condemn them all!
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.
Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.
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.
Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.
The biggest critics of my books are people who never read them.
When everyone is against you, it means you are absolutely wrong -- or you are absolutely right.
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.
We have our little theory on all human and divine things. Poetry, the workings of genius itself, which, in all times, with one or another meaning, has been called Inspiration, and held to be mysterious and inscrutable, is no longer without its scientific exposition. The building of the lofty rhyme is like any other masonry or bricklaying: we have theories of its rise, height, decline and fall -- which latter, it would seem, is now near, among all people.
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.
Temperament is the primary requisite for the critic -- a temperament exquisitely susceptible to beauty, and to the various impressions that beauty gives us.
Satire is often the reflection of a kind of moral nausea.
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?
Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
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
Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead.
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!
Criticism, that fine flower of personal expression in the garden of letters.
The rule in carving holds good as to criticism; never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon.
Honest criticism means nothing: what one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire.
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