An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





There's a fine line between participation and mockery.


Scott Adams (1957-, American cartoonist, "Dilbert")


There's a fine line between participation and mockery.


Scott Adams (1957-, American cartoonist, "Dilbert")


Their is no defense against criticism except obscurity.


Joseph Addison (1672-1719, British essayist, poet, statesman)


Most of us are umpires at heart; we like to call balls and strikes on somebody else.


Leo Aikman (American Journalist)


The avocation of assessing the failures of better men can be turned into a comfortable livelihood, providing you back it up with a Ph.D.


Nelson Algren (1909-1981, American author)


Satire is often the reflection of a kind of moral nausea.


Crand Briton


Good critical writing is measured by the perception and evaluation of the subject; bad critical writing by the necessity of maintaining the professional standing of the critic.


Raymond Chandler (1888-1959, American author)


It is wrong to be harsh with the New York critics, unless one admits in the same breath that it is a condition of their existence that they should write entertainingly about something which is rarely worth writing about at all.


Raymond Chandler (1888-1959, American author)


Dare to risk public criticism.


Mary Kay Ash (1918-2001, American businesswoman, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics)


Criticism should be a casual conversation.


W. H. Auden (1907-1973, Anglo-American poet)


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.


W. H. Auden (1907-1973, Anglo-American poet)


I know I'm never as good or bad as one single performance. I've never believed in my critics or my worshippers, and I've always been able to leave the game at the arena.


Charles Barkley (1963-, American basketball player)


It is from the womb of art that criticism was born.


Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867, French poet)


To be just, that is to say, to justify its existence, criticism should be partial, passionate and political, that is to say, written from an exclusive point of view, but a point of view that opens up the widest horizons.


Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867, French poet)


A negative judgment gives you more satisfaction than praise, provided it smacks of jealousy.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.


Walter Benjamin (1982-1940, German critic, philosopher)


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.


John Berger (1926-, British actor, critic)


The covers of this book are too far apart.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


A good writer is not necessarily a good book critic. No more so than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender.


Jim Bishop


Critics! Those cutthroat bandits in the paths of fame.


Robert Burns (1759-1796, Scottish poet)


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.


William S. Burroughs (1914-1997, American writer)


Self-laudation abounds among the unpolished, but nothing can stamp a man more sharply as ill-bred.


Charles Buxton (1823-1871, British author)


The rule in carving holds good as to criticism; never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon.


Charles Buxton (1823-1871, British author)


A man must serve his time to every trade save censure -- critics all are ready made.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


Critics are already made.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


No sadder proof can be given of a person's own tiny stature, than their disbelief in great people.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Criticism of others is futile. And if you indulge in it often, you should be warned that it can be fatal to your career.


Dale Carnegie (1888-1955, American trainer, author, "How to Win Friends and Influence People")


If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.


Dale Carnegie (1888-1955, American trainer, author, "How to Win Friends and Influence People")


In judging others, folks will work overtime for no pay.


Charles Edwin Carruthers


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.


Bill Cartwright (1957-, American basketball player)


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.


Raymond Chandler (1888-1959, American author)


Though by whim, envy, or resentment led, they damn those authors whom they never read.


Charles Churchill (1731-1764, British poet, satirist)


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.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


He cannot be strict in judging, who does not wish others to be strict judges of himself.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


They condemn what they do not understand.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


Criticism is a misconception.  We must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves.


E. M. Cioran (1911-1995, Rumanian-born French philosopher)


Unlike other people, our reviewers are powerful because they believe in nothing.


Harold Clurman


What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.


Jean Cocteau (1889-1963, French author, filmmaker)


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.


Ethan Coen (1957-, American director, screenwriter, editor, producer)


Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, biographer, if they could. They have tried their talents at one thing or another and have failed; therefore they turn critic.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834, British poet, critic, philosopher)


The biggest critics of my books are people who never read them.


Jackie Collins (1941-, American author)


In my conscience I believe the baggage loves me, for she never speaks well of me herself, nor suffers anybody else to rail at me.


William Congreve (1670-1729, British dramatist)


I review novels to make money, because it is easier for a sluggard to write an article a fortnight than a book a year, because the writer is soothed by the opiate of action, the crank by posing as a good journalist, and having an air hole. I dislike it. I do it and I am always resolving to give it up.


Cyril Connolly (1903-1974, British critic)


Criticism:  that fine flower of personal expression in the garden of letters.


Joseph Conrad (1857-1924, Polish-born British novelist)


I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably they proclaim it can't be done. I deem that the very best time to make the effort.


Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933, American President (30th))


Writing about music is like dancing about architecture; it's a really stupid thing to want to do.


Elvis Costello (1955-, British-born American musician, singer, songwriter)


Hardly a book of human worth, be it heaven's own secret, is honestly placed before the reader; it is either shunned, given a Periclean funeral oration in a hundred and fifty words, or interred in the potter's field of the newspapers back pages.


Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977, American author, critic)


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.


Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977, American author, critic)


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.


Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977, American author, critic)


Criticism is easy, art is difficult.


Phillipe Destouches


People want you to be a crazy, out-of-control teen brat. They want you miserable, just like them. They don't want heroes; what they want is to see you fall.


Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-, American actor)


Will you tell me my fault, frankly as to yourself, for I had rather wince, than die. Men do not call the surgeon to commend the bone, but to set it, Sir.


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886, American poet)


Critics are those who have failed in literature and art.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Half of the secular unrest and dismal, profane sadness of modern society comes from the vain ideas that every man is bound to be a critic for life.


Henry Van Dyke (1852--1933, American protestant clergyman and writer)


If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.


Epictetus (50-138, Phrygian philosopher)


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.


T. S. Eliot (1888-1965, American-born British poet, critic)


Blame is safer than praise.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Criticism should not be querulous and wasting, all knife and root-puller, but guiding, instructive, inspiring.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Men over forty are no judges of a book written in a new spirit.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men's judgments of one another.


Desiderius Erasmus (c.1466-1536, Dutch humanist)


The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews.


William Faulkner (1897-1962, American novelist)


In reality, the world has paid too great a compliment to critics, and have imagined them men of much greater profundity than they really are.


Henry Fielding (1707-1754, British novelist, dramatist)


Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you're two steps ahead!


Fannie Flagg


One becomes a critic when one cannot be an artist, just as a man becomes a stool pigeon when he cannot be a soldier.


Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880, French novelist)


Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting.


Dr. Emmit Fox


The good critic is he who relates the adventures of his soul among masterpieces.


Anatole France (1844-1924, French writer)


If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


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.


Margaret Witter Fuller (1810-1850, American writer, lecturer)


Those essays entitled critical are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions.


Margaret Witter Fuller (1810-1850, American writer, lecturer)


If a friend tell thee a fault, imagine always that he telleth thee not the whole.


Thomas Fuller (1608-1661, British clergyman, author)


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.


Edward Gibbon (1737-1794, British historian)


Strike the dog dead, it's but a critic!


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


The person of analytic or critical intellect finds something ridiculous in everything. The person of synthetic or constructive intellect, in almost nothing.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


Write how you want, the critic shall show the world you could have written better.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


The whole effort of a sincere man is to erect his personal impressions into laws.


Remy De Gourmont (1858-1915, French novelist, philosopher, poet, playwright)


It is a barren kind of criticism which tells you what a thing is not.


Alfred Whitney Griswold (1906-1963, American president of Yale University)


Praise those of your critics for whom nothing is up to standard.


Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961, Swedish statesman, Secretary-General of the UN)


Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs.


Christopher Hampton (1946-, British playwright)


Harsh counsels have no effect; they are like hammers which are always repulsed by the anvil.


Claude A. Helvetius (1715-1771, French philosopher)


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.


Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961, American writer)


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.


Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961, American writer)


If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge"


Napoleon Hill (1883-1970, American speaker, author, "Think And Grow Rich")


The fear of criticism takes on many forms, the majority of which are petty and trivial.


Napoleon Hill (1883-1970, American speaker, author, "Think And Grow Rich")


A good review from the critics is just another stay of execution.


Dustin Hoffman (1937-, American actor)


Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


If you burn your neighbor's house down, it doesn't make your house look any better.


Lou Holtz (1937-, American football coach)


You're never s good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.


Lou Holtz (1937-, American football coach)


To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.


Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915, American author, publisher)


I'd rather be hissed at for a good verse, than applauded for a bad one.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


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.


Joseph Joubert (1754-1824, French moralist)


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.


R. H. Hutton


Nothing would improve newspaper criticism so much as the knowledge that it was to be read by men too hardy to acquiesce      to  the authoritative statement of the reviewer.


R. H. Hutton


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.


H. A. Ironside


The only justification we have to look down on someone is because we are about to pick him up.


Jesse Jackson (1941-, American clergyman, Civil Rights leader)


As a work of art it has the same status as a long conversation between two not very bright drunks.


Clive James (1939-, Australian-born writer, satirist, broadcaster, and critic)


Of course you're always at liberty to judge the critic. Judge people as critics, however, and you'll condemn them all!


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


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.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


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