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





Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense. He whom nature has made weak, and idleness keeps ignorant, may yet support his vanity by the name of a critic.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense. He whom nature has made weak, and idleness keeps ignorant, may yet support his vanity by the name of a critic.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Criticism, as it was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant as a standard of judging well.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works. An assault upon a town is a bad thing; but starving it is still worse.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising.


Pauline Kael (1919-, American film critic)


Ours is an age of criticism, to which everything must be subjected. The sacredness of religion, and the authority of legislation, are by many regarded as grounds for exemption from the examination by this tribunal, But, if they are exempted, and cannot lay claim to sincere respect, which reason accords only to that which has stood the test of a free and public examination.


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804, German philosopher)


Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works.


John Keats (1795-1821, British poet)


One does not lash at 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.


Paul Klee (1879-1940, Swiss artist)


One does not lash at 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.


Paul Klee (1879-1940, Swiss artist)


Let us consider the critic, therefore, as a discoverer of discoveries.


Milan Kundera (1929-, Czech author, critic)


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


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


The pleasure we feel in criticizing robs us from being moved by very beautiful things.


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


Since we cannot attain unto it, let us revenge ourselves with railing against it.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


We are quick to criticize other people's faults, but slow to use those faults to correct our own.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


We are quick to criticize other people's faults, but slow to use those faults to correct our own.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


When we criticize the faults of others, it is more because of our pride than our goodness. We reprove them not so much to correct their faults, as we do to persuade them to believe that we ourselves are free from their faults.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


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.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


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.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


The easiest thing a human being can do is to criticize another human being.


Lynn M. Little


It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.


John Locke (1632-1704, British philosopher)


It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.


John Locke (1632-1704, British philosopher)


Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


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.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


The strength of criticism lies in the weakness of the thing criticized.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


A sneer is the weapon of the weak.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


Never make the mistake of assuming the critters will beat a path to your door.


John P. Mascotte


People who ask for your criticism want only praise.


W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965, British novelist, playwright)


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.


W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965, British novelist, playwright)


Critical remarks are only made by people who love you.


Federico Mayor


Never retract, never explain, never apologize; get things done and let them howl.


Nellie McClung (1873-1951, Canadian writer, speaker)


Talk back to your internal critic. Train yourself to recognize and write down critical thoughts as they go through your mind. Learn why these thoughts are untrue and practice talking and writing back to them.


Robert J. McKain


It is critical vision alone which can mitigate the unimpeded operation of the automatic.


Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980, Canadian communications theorist)


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!


Golda Meir (1898-1978, Israeli Prime Minister, 1969-74)


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.


Lord Melbourne (1779-1848, British statesman, Prime Minister)


People are eager to comment on something when they themselves are not in the situation of doing it.


Mencius (Mengzi Meng-tse) (c.370-300 BC,  Chinese philosopher)


Criticism is prejudice made plausible.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


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.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Honest criticism means nothing: what one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


We have been educated to such a fine -- or dull -- point that we are incapable of enjoying something new, something different, until we are first told what it's all about. We don't trust our five senses; we rely on our critics and educators, all of whom are failures in the realm of creation. In short, the blind lead the blind. It's the democratic way.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


A drama critic is a person who surprises the playwright by informing him what he meant.


Wilson Mizner (1876-1933, American author)


One ought to examine himself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.


Jean Baptiste Moliere (1622-1673, French playwright)


If you want to criticize someone, first criticize yourself more than three times.


Sun Myung Moon


We are suffering from too much sarcasm.


Marianne Moore (1887-1972, American poet)


A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia.


Iris Murdoch (1919-, British novelist, philosopher)


We protest against unjust criticism but we accept unarmed applause.


Jose Narosky


The greatest honor that can be paid to the work of art, on its pedestal of ritual display, is to describe it with sensory completeness. We need a science of description. Criticism is ceremonial revivification.


Camille Paglia (1947-, American author, critic, educator)


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.


Ezra Pound (1885-1972, American poet, critic)


When the critics come around it's always too late.


Sir Sidney Nolan


All the world's a stage, and all the clergymen critics.


Gregory Nunn (1955-, American golfer)


No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy.


Sir Lawrence Olivier (1907-1989, British actor, producer, director)


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.


George Orwell (1903-1950, British author, "Animal Farm")


This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.


Dorothy Parker (1893-1967, American humorous writer)


Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings.


Octavio Paz (1914-1998, Mexican poet, essayist)


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.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


In criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845, American poet, critic, short-story writer)


A critic is a legless man who teaches running.


Channing Pollock (1946-, American actor)


Each generation produces its squad of "moderns" with peashooters to attack Gibraltar.


Channing Pollock (1946-, American actor)


Did some more sober critics come abroad? If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744, British poet, critic, translator)


They will say you are on the wrong road, if it is your own.


Antonio Porchia


The unborn baby that fears criticism will never be born.


African Proverb (Sayings of African origin)


Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins.


American Indian Proverb (Sayings of American Indian origin)


Many people count other people's faults and ignore their own.


Burmese Proverb


Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


The people sitting in the free theater seats are the first ones to boo.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


Those who have free seats at a play hiss first.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


They couldn't find any reason to criticize the roses, so they complained that they were red!


Egyptian Proverb


The only real way someone can stop criticism is to die.


French Proverb (Sayings of French origin)


Even the lion has to defend himself against flies.


German Proverb (Sayings of German origin)


The more the fox is cursed, the more prey he catches.


Italian Proverb (Sayings of Italian origin)


The person who offends writes as if it was written on sand, and the person who is offended reads it as if it were written on marble.


Italian Proverb (Sayings of Italian origin)


The person who is always criticizing others is usually the one who deserves criticism the most.


Philipino Proverb


It takes sweat to work on things, but it only takes saliva to criticize things.


Taiwanese Proverb


The television critic, whatever his pretensions, does not labor in the same vineyard as those he criticizes; his grapes are all sour.


Frederic Raphael (1931-, British author, critic)


Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.


Sam Rayburn (1882-1961, American representative)


Do what you feel in your heart to be right. You'll be criticized anyway.


Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962, American First Lady, columnist, lecturer, humanitarian)


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.


Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978, American art critic, author)


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]


Isabella Rossellini (1952-, Italian actress, model)


Take heed of critics even when they are not fair; resist them even when they are.


Jean Rostand (1894-1977, French biologist, writer)


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.


Helen Rowland (1875-1950, American journalist)


A critic is a reader who ruminates. Thus, he should have more than one stomach.


Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829, German philosopher, critic, writer)


As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation.


Hans Selye (1907-1982, Canadian physician born in Austria, research on stress)


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.


Sir Martin Archer Shee


Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief becomes despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.


Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822, British poet)


A man generally has the good or ill qualities he attributes to mankind.


William Shenstone (1714-1763, British poet)


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!


Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816, Anglo-Irish dramatist)


Neither praise nor blame is the object of true criticism. Justly to discriminate, firmly to establish, wisely to prescribe, and honestly to award. These are the true aims and duties of criticism.


William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870, American author)


The dread of criticism is the death of genius.


William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870, American author)


When subjected to the rain of criticism, let’s not curse the rain. Let’s accept it as a part of life. Let’s remember that the more criticism we can successfully handle, the more zest we will experience in our lives.


Shall Sinha


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?


Christian Slater (1969-, American actor)


I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so.


Sydney Smith (1771-1845, British writer, clergyman)


Some people are always critical of vague statements. I tend rather to be critical of precise statements; they are the only ones which can correctly be labeled "wrong."


Raymond Smullyan


Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


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.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


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.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


Give a critic an inch, he'll write a play.


John Steinbeck (1902-1968, American author)


Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.


John Steinbeck (1902-1968, American author)


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!


Laurence Sterne (1713-1768, British author)


What we ask of him is, that he should find out for us more than we can find out for ourselves. He must have the passion of a lover.


Arthur Symons


Abuse if you slight it, will gradually die away; but if you show yourself irritated, you will be thought to have deserved it.


Publius Cornelius Tacitus (55-117, Roman historian)


A louse in the locks of literature.


Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892, British poet)


No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not work those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself.


Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892, British poet)


Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)


I am sorry to think that you do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


All my life people have said that I wasn't going to make it.


Ted Turner (1938-, American businessman, founder of CNN)


The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


A critic is a man who knows the way, but can't drive the car.


Kenneth Tynan (1927-1980, British critic)


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.


Kenneth Tynan (1927-1980, British critic)


All of us could take a lesson from the weather, it pays no attention to criticism.


Author Unknown


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.


Author Unknown


Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from your own.


Author Unknown


Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from your own.


Author Unknown


Don't mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified it is not criticism, learn from it.


Author Unknown


Having a sharp tongue will cut your throat


Author Unknown


He who throws dirt always loses ground.


Author Unknown


It is strange that we do not temper our resentment of criticism with a thought for our many faults which have escaped us.


Author Unknown


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.


Author Unknown


Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.


Author Unknown


The best criticism doesn't trap an employee or child in a dead end. It gives them an escape route.


Author Unknown


There is one way to handle the ignorant and malicious critic. Ignore him.


Author Unknown


Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- criticize.


Author Unknown


Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.


John Updike (1932-, American novelist, critic)


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.


Alice Walker (1944-, American author, critic)


A friend is a lot of things, but a critic isn't.


Bern Williams


A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say, "Oh, I don't like it." One might say, "it's the best muffin ever made." One might say "it's an awful muffin." It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin.


Denzel Washington (1954-, American actor)


After all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others.


Edith Wharton (1862-1937, American author)


You should not say it is not good. You should say you do not like it; and then, you know, you're perfectly safe.


James Mcneill Whistler (1834-1903, American artist)


On an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one's mind. It becomes a pleasure.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Temperament is the primary requisite for the critic -- a temperament exquisitely susceptible to beauty, and to the various impressions that beauty gives us.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


The true critic is he who bears within himself the dreams and ideas and feelings of myriad generations, and to whom no form of thought is alien, no emotional impulse obscure.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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.


Thornton Wilder (1897-1975, American novelist, playwright)


It is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shouting at you.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


Remember that nobody will ever get ahead of you as long as he is kicking you in the seat of the pants.


Walter Winchell (1897-1972, American journalist)


Not even the most powerful organs of the press, including Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times, can discover a new artist or certify his work and make it stick. They can only bring you the scores.


Thomas Wolfe (1931-, American author, journalist)


It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.


Virginia Woolf (1882-1941, British novelist, essayist)


There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic.


Zig Ziglar (1926-, American sales trainer, author, motivational speaker)

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