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Thomas γ Kempis
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Criticism is the activity of judgement or informed interpretation. In literary and academic contexts, the term most frequently refers to literary criticism, art criticism, or other such fields, and to scholars' attempts to understand the aesthetic object in depth.

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  • Criticism, whatever may be its pretensions, never does more than to define the impression which is made upon it at a certain moment by a work wherein the writer himself noted the impression of the world which he received at a certain hour.
  • It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
  • I am bound by my own definition of criticism: a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.
    • Matthew Arnold, Essays in Criticism, 1st Series, ‘The Function of Criticism at the Present Time.’
  • People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.
  • We must grant the artist his subject, his idea, his donné: our criticism is applied only to what he makes of it.
    • Henry James, The Art of Fiction, ‘Partial Portraits.’
  • Parodies and caricatures are the most penetrating of criticisms.


  • It is the critic's duty, I believe, to deliver honest opinions to posterity on the immediate experience of viewing movies, hoping that successors will respect their honest opinions and find them useful, rather than sneer at their insensitivity.
  • ...there is no longer any serious antagonism between critics, film distributors and moviemakers... we are now... welcomed respectfully by publicists, our notices, as they used to be called, filleted for favourable comments, but generally disregarded. In these placid days one looks back nostalgically to the anger an unfavourable review could elicit.
  • In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends... Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.


  • The trick to writing comics criticism meant for an audience beyond the cult, I think—and, really, if the criticism is good enough and is in any kind of a general-interest venue, the audience will come—is subtle exposition: I try to write for a general audience, and give them everything they need to know, without making it look like I'm explaining something esoteric. In a lot of ways, the long comics reviews I write are just book reviews; I figure out a hook or some kind of engaging way of addressing the subject, I assess the thing in question, and I don't make a big deal out of the fact that it's a comic, any more than Kael would hem and haw over the fact that what she was reviewing was a motion picture.
  • There were a lot of working professionals who were just sort of appalled at our attitude and probably at our punkish disrespect for mainstream, predominantly superhero, comics in general. They didn't think it was legitimate to criticize comics in that sort of high-toned way. Mainstream creators took a certain degree of pride in their work, but it was pride in them from the perspective of hard-core fans, and they weren't really imposing standards on them, other than craft standards, which had devolved from the history of comics—and the history of comics is mostly just a history of crap. So when we came in and applied these "exalted" standards to comics, creators were, frankly, pissed off.
  • ...using the language of film suggests that comics are somehow subordinate to film as a discipline: a movie that doesn't move.


  • ...the most useful criticism in any art [form] is new work done with the same tools [as previous art].


  • If the critics were always right we should be in deep trouble.
  • Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been put up to a critic.
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
  • To escape criticism — do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
  • I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise.
  • Those who cannot do, criticize.

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