Louis Kronenberger

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Louis Kronenberger (December 9, 1904 - April 30, 1980) was an American critic and author. He was a drama critic for Time Magazine from 1938 to 1961 and theater arts professor at Brandeis University.


  • On a very rough-and-ready basis we might define an eccentric as a man who is a law unto himself, and a crank as one who, having determined what the law is, insists on laying it down to others. An eccentric puts ice cream on steak simply because he likes it; should a crank do so, he would endow the act with moral grandeur and straightaway denounce as sinners (or reactionaries) all who failed to follow suit […] Cranks, at their most familiar, are a sort of peevish prophets, and it's not enough that they should be in the right; others must also be in the wrong.
    • "The One and the Many", Company Manners: A Cultural Inquiry into American Life (1955)


  • For tens of millions of people television has become habit-forming, brain-softening, taste-degrading.
  • Highly educated bores are by far the worst; they know so much, in such fiendish detail, to be boring about.
  • Individualism is rather like innocence; there must be something unconscious about it.
  • It is the gossip columnist's business to write about what is none of his business.
  • Many people today don't want honest answers insofar as honest means unpleasant or disturbing, They want a soft answer that turneth away anxiety.
  • Nothing so soothes our vanity as a display of greater vanity in others; it make us vain, in fact, of our modesty.
  • Old age is an excellent time for outrage. My goal is to say or do at least one outrageous thing every week.
  • One of the misfortunes of our time is that in getting rid of false shame we have killed off so much real shame as well.
  • Privacy was in sufficient danger before TV appeared, and TV has given it its death blow.
  • The closer and more confidential our relationship with someone, the less we are entitled to ask about what we are not voluntarily told.
  • The Englishman wants to be recognized as a gentleman, or as some other suitable species of human being, the American wants to be considered a good guy.
  • The trouble with our age is all signposts and no destination.
  • The trouble with us in America isn't that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.
  • There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on the part of a great many people to the effect that when you cease to believe you may cease to behave.
  • Conformity may not always reign in the prosperous bourgeois suburb, but it ultimately always governs.

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