Music critics are, for the most part, bitter people who are intent at dragging people down for being successful at what they want to do, which is probably music. The oddity of being a critic is: You don't get a diploma, you just decide you're a critic. If someone listens to your opinion rather than their own, it's their mistake. Any critic's top 10, any year, it's something controversial or something that will make them look hipper-than-thou. The whole critic game, we've never played.
Except that it's not really 'now' that the inner critic attacks. It's a few seconds or a minute ago. The inner critic depends upon comparison, and when we are fully aware in the present moment, when there is no past or future in our mind's awareness, there is nothing to compare. There is only what is, as it is. The inner critic disappears.
Jan Chozen Bays
You find very few critics who approach their job with a combination of information and enthusiasm and humility that makes for a good critic. But there is nothing wrong with critics as long as people don't pay any attention to them. I mean, nobody wants to put them out of a job and a good critic is not necessarily a dead critic. It's just that people take what a critic says as a fact rather than an opinion, and you have to know whether the opinion of the critic is informed or uninformed, intelligent of stupid -- but most people don't take the trouble.
I was the first critic ever to win a Tony - for co-authoring 'Elaine Stritch at Liberty.' Criticism is a life without risk; the critic is risking his opinion, the maker is risking his life. It's a humbling thought but important for the critic to keep it in mind - a thought he can only know if he's made something himself.
Technique is really personality. That is the reason why the artist cannot teach it, why the pupil cannot learn it, and why the aesthetic critic can understand it. To the great poet, there is only one method of music - his own. To the great painter, there is only one manner of painting - that which he himself employs. The aesthetic critic, and the aesthetic critic alone, can appreciate all forms and all modes. It is to him that Art makes her appeal.
It is necessary a writing critic should understand how to write. And though every writer is not bound to show himself in the capacity of critic, every writing critic is bound to show himself capable of being a writer; for if he be apparently impotent in this latter kind, he is to be denied all title or character in the other.
At best, the relationship between drama critic and playwright is a pretty twiggy affair. When I'm asked whom I write for, after the obligatory, I write only for myself, I realize that I have an imaginary circle of peers - writers and respected or savvy theatre folk, some dramatic writers and some not, some living, some long gone. . . . Often a writer is aware as he works that a certain critic is going to hate this one. . . . You don't let what a critic might say worry you or alter your work; it might even add a spark to the gleeful process of creation.
I don't think the role of the critic has changed very much. In the most positive sense, the music critic is one who helps the public navigate what's out there, especially in bringing attention to things they otherwise wouldn't hear about, or to provide a new window into something familiar.
Critical thinking does seem a superior sort of thinking because it seems as though the critic is actually going beyond the scope of what is being criticized in order to criticize it. That is only rarely a true assumption because, most often, the critic will seize on some little aspect that he or she understands and tackle only that.
Edward de Bono
Here the phenomenologist has nothing in common with the literary critic who, as has frequently been noted, judges a work that he could not create and, if we are to believe certain facile condemnations, would not want to create. A literary critic is a reader who is necessarily severe. By turning inside out like a glove an overworked complex that has become debased to the point of being part of the vocabulary of statesmen, we might say that the literary critic and the professor of rhetoric, who know-all and judge-all, readily go in for a simplex of superiority. As for me, being an addict of felicitous reading, I only read and re-read what I like, with a bit of reader's pride mixed in with much enthusiasm.
Paradoxically, the simpler poetry is, the more difficult it becomes for a critic to discuss intelligently. Trained to explicate, the critic often loses the ability to evaluate literature outside the critical act. A work is good only in proportion to the richness and complexity of interpretations it provokes.
The nineteenth century is a turning point in history, simply on account of the work of two men, Darwin and Renan, the one the critic of the Book of Nature, the other the critic of the books of God. Not to recognise this is to miss the meaning of one of the most important eras in the progress of the world.
A critic may reject some miracle stories as legendary, and not others, with no inconsistency at all for the simple reason that even if one holds miracles to be possible, one need not hold legends to be impossible! There are other factors, literary and historiographical ones, that might lead a critic to conclude that even though miracles can happen, it does not appear that in this or that case they did.
Robert M. Price
The hardest thing in the world is being a critic of your own work. For me time has always been the best critic. If I can put something away and then come back, it's like taking a painting you're working on, turning it upside down, squinting at it, or walking away to get a new view. Time helps you know whether it's worth saving or whether it should be dumped.
I am an Episcopalian who takes the faith of my fathers seriously, and I would, I think, be disheartened if my own young children were to turn away from the church when they grow up. I am also a critic of Christianity, if by critic one means an observer who brings historical and literary judgment to bear on the texts and traditions of the church.
I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don't want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It's high time that I accept all the great things about me.
C. JoyBell C.
No publisher should ever express an opinion on the value of what he publishes. That is a matter entirely for the literary critic to decide. I can quite understand how any ordinary critic would be strongly prejudiced against a work that was accompanied by a premature and unnecessary panegyric from the publisher. A publisher is simply a useful middle-man. It is not for him to anticipate the verdict of criticism.
Should a writer have a social purpose? Any honest writer is bound to become a critic of the society he lives in, and sometimes, like Mark Twain or Kurt Vonnegut or Leo Tolstoy or Francois Rabelais, a very harsh critic indeed. The others are sycophants, courtiers, servitors, entertainers. Shakespeare was a sychophant; however, he was and is also a very good poet, and so we continue to read him.
Edmund Wilson was our greatest American literary critic because he was more than a literary critic: He was a fearless, even radical judge of the society he lived in. (See, for example, _A Piece of My Mind_; _The Cold War and the Income Tax_; the introduction to _Patriotic Gore_.) Our conventional critics cannot forgive him for those scandalous lapses in good taste.
The critical sense is so far from frequent that it is absolutely rare, and the possession of the cluster of qualities that minister to it is one of the highest distinctions... In this light one sees the critic as the real helper of the artist, a torchbearing outrider, the interpreter, the brother... Just in proportion as he is sentient and restless, just in proportion as he reacts and reciprocates and penetrates, is the critic a valuable instrument.
Perhaps the critics are right: this generation may not produce literature equal to that of any past generation-who cares? The writer will be dead before anyone can judge him-but he must go on writing, reflecting disorder, defeat, despair, should that be all he sees at the moment, but ever searching for the elusive love, joy, and hope-qualities which, as in the act of life itself, are best when they have to be struggled for, and are not commonly come by with much ease, either by a critic's formula or by a critic's yearning.
To be a critical reader means for me: (1) to affirm the enduring power of the Bible in my culture and in my own life and yet (2) to remain open enough to dare to ask any question and to risk any critical judgement. Nothing less than both of these points, together, can suffice for me. I was a reader of the Bible before I was a critic of it, but I found becoming a critic to be liberating and satisfying, and therefore I judge criticism to be a high calling of inestimable value. Yet, I recognize the prior claim of the text and the preeminence of reading over criticism; accordingly, I see and occasionally am apprehended by moments in which the text wields its indubitable power. The critic's ego says this could be a taste of the cherished post-critical naivete; the reader's proper humility before the text says that a reader should not judge such things.
Robert M. Fowler
Paraphrase, in the sense of summary, is as indispensable to the novel-critic as close analysis is to the critic of lyric poetry. The natural deduction is that novels are paraphrasable whereas poems are not. But this is a false deduction because close analysis is itself a disguised form of paraphrase.
In the movies first impressions are everything. Or, to put it less drastically, in the movies there are no later impressions without a first impression, because you will have stopped watching. Sometimes a critic persuades you to give an unpromising-looking movie a chance, but the movie had better convey the impression pretty quickly that the critic might be right.
All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that's my job...And I'm prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legends or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I've read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people, and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.
C. S. Lewis
I sat at my desk, poured myself a glass of wine, and pondered life... my profession... was it meaningless? I took a long, drawn-back swig of the bourbon and slammed down the glass. I only then noticed the stream of filtered light illuminating through the window, through the partially drawn shades. It was beautiful. I thought to myself, "I am a critic. My life is criticizing the works of others, the joys of others, the very essence of what others have toiled, agonized and gone mad over. "I am a critic. I write in a magazine about how I don't like what someone else likes, merely because they wrote it." Write what you love, they always say. "I am a hater, " I said, pondering the beautiful sunlight and my glass of alcohol, "... but I hate for the enjoyment of others.