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 Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) American Painter
A good review from the critics is just another stay of execution.
—Dustin Hoffman (b.1937) American Actor, TV Personality, Theater Personality
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.
—William Congreve (1670–1729) English Playwright, Poet
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
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
No matter how well you perform there’s always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it’s lousy.
—Laurence Olivier (1907–89) English Actor, Film Producer, Film Director, Screenwriter
There are some critics who change everything that comes under their hands to gold; but to this privilege of Midas they join sometimes his ears.
—Jean Antoine Petit-Senn (1792–1870) Swiss Poet
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 (1909–81) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
Their is no defense against criticism except obscurity.
—Joseph Addison (1672–1719) English Essayist, Poet, Playwright, Politician
How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet
I’d rather be hissed at for a good verse, than applauded for a bad one.
—Victor Hugo (1802–85) French Novelist
Any coward can sit at home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in a fog. But I would rather by far die on a mountainside than in bed.
—Charles Lindbergh (1902–74) American Aviator, Explorer, Inventor, Social Activist
Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) English Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic
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 (1907-73) British-born American Poet, Dramatist
A man has generally the good or ill qualities which he attributes to mankind.
—William Shenstone (1714–63) English Poet, Gardener
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.
—Jean de La Bruyere
The whole effort of a sincere man is to erect his personal impressions into laws.
—Remy de Gourmont (1858–1915) French Poet, Novelist, Critic
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 Author, Motivational Speaker, Public Speaker
Neither praise or 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 (1806–70) American Poet, Novelist, Historian
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.
—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American First Lady, Diplomat, Civil Rights Activist, Politician
The pleasure of criticism takes from us that of being deeply moved by very beautiful things.
—Jean de La Bruyere
What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.
—Jean Cocteau (1889–1963) French Poet, Novelist, Dramatist, Playwright, Artist
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 a barren kind of criticism which tells you what a thing is not.
—Alfred Whitney Griswold (1906–63) American Historian, Educator
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 (b.1974) American Actor, Film Producer
A good writer is not necessarily a good book critic. No more so than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender.
—Jim Bishop (1907–87) American Journalist, Author
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.