Every writer is necessarily a critic -- that is, each sentence is a skeleton accompanied by enormous activity of rejection; and each selection is governed by general principles concerning truth, force, beauty, and so on. The critic that is in every fabulist is like the iceberg -- nine-tenths of him is under water.
Best Quotes about Criticism
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.
A good review from the critics is just another stay of execution.
If you burn your neighbors house down, it doesn't make your house look any better.
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.
If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.
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.
Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather that its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as a bad heart of Procreates turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
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.
Criticism should be a casual conversation.
Auden, W. H.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
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.
I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
I'd rather be hissed at for a good verse, than applauded for a bad one.
People who ask for your criticism want only praise.
Maugham, W. Somerset
Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.
All the world's a stage, and all the clergymen critics.
Even the lion has to defend himself against flies.
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.
The television critic, whatever his pretensions, does not labor in the same vineyard as those he criticizes; his grapes are all sour.
One ought to examine himself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.
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.
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.
The literary critic, or the critic of any other specific form of artistic expression, may detach himself from the world for as long as the work of art he is contemplating appears to do the same.
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.
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.
A sneer is the weapon of the weak.
Lowell, James Russell
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
Having a sharp tongue will cut your throat
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.
A critic is a man who knows the way, but can't drive the car.
Abuse if you slight it, will gradually die away; but if you show yourself irritated, you will be thought to have deserved it.
Tacitus, Publius Cornelius
The biggest critics of my books are people who never read them.
Praise those of your critics for whom nothing is up to standard.
Since we cannot attain unto it, let us revenge ourselves with railing against it.
Montaigne, Michel Eyquem De
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.
Most of us are umpires at heart; we like to call balls and strikes on somebody else.
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.
Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.
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.
Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
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.
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.
Critics are already made.
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.
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