Quotations about   criticism

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



Matho alleges that my book’s uneven.
He compliments my poems, if that’s true.
Calvinus and Umber write consistent books.
Consistent books are lousy through and through.

[Iactat inaequalem Matho me fecisse libellum:
Si verum est, laudat carmina nostra Matho.
Aequales scribit libros Calvinus et Umber:
Aequalis liber est, Cretice, qui malus est.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 7, epigram 90 (7.90) [tr. McLean (2014)]
    (Source)

"To Creticus" (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Matho objects, my books unequal are;
If he says true, he praises ere aware.
Calvin and Umber write an equal strain:
Naught is the book that's free from heights, and plain.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

My book is unequal, a Matho may boast.
So saying, he knows not he cries it up most.
Books equal a Calvin and Umber did write;
But equally penn'd in poor Pallasses spite.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 3, ep. 15]

Matho exults that I have produced a book full of inequalities; if this be true, Matho only commends my verses. Books without inequalities are produced by Calvinus and Umber. A book that is all bad, Creticus, may be all equality.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Matho puts it abroad that I have composed an unequal book; if that is true, Matho praises my poems. Equal books are what Calvinus and Umber write: the equal book, Creticus, is the bad one.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

My work's uneven, you protest
And sometimes falls beneath my best;
     A compliment, say I:
Dull bards on level planes that grope
Shall never err -- or soar -- with Pope,
     Although they shine with Pye.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "The Dull Level"]

I write unequal verse, so Matho says;
If it be true his criticism's a praise.
Try Umber, Cluveienus by that test:
No, Creticus; bad's bad; good seldom best.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #382]

Matho's mad,
upset,
says my book
is unfair.

That's good,
I'm glad:
fair books
are dull books.
[tr. Goertz (1971)]

Matho says my book's uneven.
He thinks he's quite the joker.
I'd rather have both highs and lows,
Than just be mediocre.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

Matho's one-word review of my small book:
"Uneven." I'm supposed to get all shook!
The scribblings of Calvinus and Umber
Are very "even" ... yet how they lumber.
I swear to you, Creticus, I thank God
My gift is for being quite frankly "odd."
[tr. Schmidgall (2001)]

Dour Matho offers me a "mixed review,"
To which contentedly I answer, "Whew!"
Most poets get reviews that are unmixed,
With every verse and stanza in them nixed.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Smootus says my book is uneven.
I see this as praise of my work.
A bad book is fat with unvarying quality.
[tr. Kennelly (2008)]

Matho is crowing that I've "made an inconsistent book." If he's right, he's actually praising my poems. Calvinus and Umber write "consistent" books; if a book's "consistent," Creticus, it's consistently bad.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Added on 8-Apr-22 | Last updated 8-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

We should be sure, when we rebuke a want of charity, to do it with charity.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Intuitions and Summaries of Thought, Vol. 1, “Charity” (1862)
    (Source)
Added on 31-Mar-22 | Last updated 31-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Bovee, Christian Nestell

“Write shorter epigrams,” is your advice.
Yet you write nothing, Velox. How concise!

[Scribere me quereris, Velox, epigrammata longa.
Ipse nihil scribis: tu breviora facis.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 110 (1.110) [tr. McLean (2014)]
    (Source)

"To Velox." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Velox complains my epigrams are long,
When he writes none: he sings a shorter song.
[tr. Fletcher (c. 1650)]

You say my epigrams, Velox, too long are:
You nothing write; sure yours are shorter far.
[tr. Wright (1663)]

Of my long epigrams, you, Swift, complain;
And nothing write: I laud your shorter strain.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 12, ep. 16, "To Velox, or Swift"]

You complain, Velox, that the epigrams which I write are long. You yourself write nothing; your attempts are shorter.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

You complain, Velox, that I write long epigrams, you yourself write nothing. Yours are shorter.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"Such lengthy epigrams," you say, "affright one."
True, yours are shorter, for you never write one.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

You say I write lines longer than I ought?
It's true your lines are shorter -- they are nought.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

You say my epigrams are too long.
Yours are shorter.
You write nothing.
[tr. Kennelly (2008), "Nothing"]

Swifty, you moan that I write long epigrams. You aren't writing anything yourself; is that you making shorter ones?
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

My epigrams are word, you've complained;
But you write nothing. Yours are more restrained.
[tr. O'Connell]

“Much too long” you say, Velox, censorious,
Of my epigrams -- that’s quite uproarious.
You write none. Your brevity is glorious.
[tr. Schmidgall (2001)]

You call my epigrams verbose and lacking in concision
while you yourself write nothing. Wise decision.
[tr. Clark, "Short Enough?"]

Added on 11-Mar-22 | Last updated 11-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

You damn every poem I write,
Yet you won’t publish those of your own.
Now kindly let yours see the light,
Or else leave my damned ones alone.

[Cum tua non edas, carpis mea carmina, Laeli.
Carpere vel noli nostra vel ede tua.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 91 (1.91) [tr. Nixon (1911)]
    (Source)

"To Lælius". (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Thou blam'st my verses and conceal'st thine own:
Or publish thine, or else let mine alone!
[tr. Anon. (1695)]

You do not publish your own verses, Laelius; you criticise mine. Pray cease to criticise mine, or else publish your own.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Although you don't publish your own, you carp at my poems, Laelius. Either do not carp at mine, or publish your own.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You blame my verse; to publish you decline;
Show us your own or cease to carp at mine.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Each poem I publish you loudly bemoan.
Unfair that you never share works of your own.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

With carpings you my works revile.
Your own you never publish.
Without such works, your carpings I'll
Consider snooty rubbish.
[tr. Wills (2007), "The Critic"]

You blast my verses, Laelius; yours aren’t shown.
Either don’t carp at mine or show your own.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

You won’t reveal your verse,
but whine that mine is worse.
Just leave me alone
or publish your own.
[tr. Juster (2016)]

You don’t write poems, Laelius, you criticise mine. Stop criticising me or write your own.
[tr. Kline]

You never wrote a poem,
yet criticize mine?
Stop abusing me or write something fine
of your own!
[tr. Burch]

Added on 4-Mar-22 | Last updated 4-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

But if our democracy is to flourish it must have criticism, if our government is to function it must have dissent. Only totalitarian governments insist upon conformity and they — as we know — do so at their peril. Without criticism abuses will go unrebuked; without dissent our dynamic system will become static. The American people ‘have a stake in the maintenance of the most thorough-going inquisition into American institutions. They have a stake in nonconformity, for they know that the American genius is nonconformist.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Who Is Loyal to America?” sec. 3, Harper’s Magazine #1168 (Sep 1947)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954).
Added on 23-Feb-22 | Last updated 23-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Commager, Henry Steele

In the verse Cinna writes
I am slandered, it’s said.
But the man doesn’t write
Whose verses aren’t read.

[Versiculos in me narratur scribere Cinna.
Non scribit, cuius carmina nemo legit.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 9 (3.9) [tr. Nixon (1911)]

"On Cinna." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Cinna writes verses against me, 'tis said:
He writes not, whose bad verse no man doth read.
[tr. Fletcher (c. 1650)]

Against me Cinna, as I hear, indites;
Since none him reads, who can affirm he writes?
[tr. Anon. (1695)]

Cinna's verse upon me, they say, keenly procedes.
He's beli'd: for he writes not, whom nobody reads.
[tr. Elphinston (1782). 12.23]

Jack writes severe lampoons on me, 'tis said
----But he writes nothing, who is never read.
[tr. Hodgson (c. 1810)]

Cinna, I am told, is a writer of small squibs against me. A man cannot be called a writer, whose effusions no one reads.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Cinna is said to write verses against me. He doesn't write at all whose poems no man reads.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

He publishes lampoons on me, 'tis said;
How can he publish who is never read?
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Cinna, a writer, attacks me with screeds.
But he's not a writer whom nobody reads.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

His verse was meant to strike me low,
But since he wrote it -- who will know?
[tr. Wills (2007)]

I hear Cinna has written some verses against me.
A man is no writer
if his poems have no reader.
[tr. Kennelly (2008)]

Cinna, they say, writes verse attacking me.
He doesn’t write, whose verses none will see.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

They say Cinna is writing epigrams and I'm his target. He's not "writing" if no one's reading him.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

They say that Cinna slams
me in his epigrams.
A poem no one has heard
has really not occurred.
[tr. Juster (2016)]

Cinna attacks me, calls me dirt?
Let him. Who isn't read, can't hurt.
[tr. O'Connell]

They say Cinna writes little poems about me.
He’s no writer, whose verse nobody reads.
[tr. Kline]

Added on 28-Jan-22 | Last updated 28-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

Reader and hearer, Aulus, love my stuff;
A certain poet says it’s rather rough.
Well, I don’t care. For dinners or for books
The guest’s opinion matters, not the cook’s.

[Lector et auditor nostros probat, Aule, libellos,
Sed quidam exactos esse poeta negat.
Non nimium curo: nam cenae fercula nostrae
Malim convivis quam placuisse cocis.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 9, epigram 81 (9.81) [tr. Francis & Tatum (1924)]
    (Source)

"To Aulus". The numbering for this epigram varies between 81, 82, and 83 within in Book 9. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

The readers and the hearers like my books,
And, yet, some writers cannot them digest:
But what care I? for when I make a feast,
I would my guests should praise it, not the cooks.
[tr. Harington (16th C)]

My works the reader and the hearer praise:
They're not exact; a brother poet says:
I heed not him; for when I give a feast,
Am I to please the cook, or please the guest?
[tr. Hay (1755), ep. 82]

The reader and the hearer like my lays.
But they're unfinisht things, a poet says.
The stricture ne'er shall discompose my looke:
My chear is for my guests, and not for cooks.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 3.14]

The reader and the hearer approve of my small books, but a certain critic objects that they are not finished to a nicety. I do not take this censure much to heart, for I would wish that the course of my dinner should afford pleasure to guests rather than to cooks.
[tr. Amos (1858) 2.24]

My readers and hearers, Aulus, approve of my compositions; but a certain critic says that they are not faultless. I am not much concerned at his censure; for I should wish the dishes on my table to please guests rather than cooks.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Though my readers sincerely admire me,
A poet finds fault with my books.
What's the odds? When I'm giving a dinner
I'd rather please guests than the cooks.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

Reader and hearer approve of my works, Aulus, but a certain poet says they are not polished. I don't care much, for I should prefer the courses of my dinner to please guests rather than cooks.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"Unpolished" -- so that scribbler sneers,
While he that reads and he that hears,
     Approve my little books;
I do not care a single jot,
My fame is for my guests and not
     To please my rival cooks.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Read or recited, my verse is much praised,
Aulus, yet one poet opines: "Ill-phrased."
I couldn't care less! When I set a table,
My guests, not the cooks, should say I'm able.
[tr. Schmidgall (2001)]

My books are praised by him who reads,
Though critics damn them in their screeds.
But who's to judge a proper meat --
Another cook, or those who eat?
[tr. Wills (2007), ep. 83]

Added on 14-Jan-22 | Last updated 11-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

It is advantageous to an author, that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (11-19 Nov 1793), in James Boswell, Journey of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Dec-21 | Last updated 29-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Johnson, Samuel

Physics is an organized body of knowledge about nature, and a student of it says that he is learning physics, not nature. Art, like nature, has to be distinguished from the systematic study of it, which is criticism.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
Anatomy of Criticism, “Polemical Introduction” (1957)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Nov-21 | Last updated 8-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Frye, Northrop

Who sneers at epigrams and feigns to scout them,
Believe me, does not know a thing about them.
The real bores are the dreary epic spinners
Who rant of Tereus’ or Thyestes’ dinners,
Who rave of cunning Daedalus applying
The wings to Icarus to teach him flying,
Or else to show what dullards they esteem us
Bleat endless pastorals on Polyphemus.
My unpretentious Muse is not bombastic,
But deems these robes of Tragedy fantastic.
“Such things,” you say, “earn all men’s commendation,
As works of genius and inspiration.”
Ah, very true — those pompous classic leaders
Do get the praise — but then I get the readers!

[Nescit, crede mihi, quid sint epigrammata, Flacce,
Qui tantum lusus ista iocosque vocat.
Ille magis ludit, qui scribit prandia saevi
Tereos, aut cenam, crude Thyesta, tuam,
Aut puero liquidas aptantem Daedalon alas,
Pascentem Siculas aut Polyphemon ovis.
A nostris procul est omnis vesica libellis,
Musa nec insano syrmate nostra tumet.
“Illa tamen laudant omnes, mirantur, adorant.”
Confiteor: laudant illa, sed ista legunt.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 4, epigram 49 (4.49) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
    (Source)

"To Valerius Flaccus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Though little know'st what epigram contains,
Who think'st it all a joke in jocund strains.
He direly jokes, who bids a Tereus dine;
Or dresses suppers like, Thyestes, thine;
Feins him who fits the boy with melting wings,
Or the sweet shepherd Polyphemus sings.
Or muse disdains by fustian to excel;
by rant to rattle, or in buskin swell.
Those strains the learn'd applaud, admire, adore.
Those they applaud, I own; but these explore.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), ep. 48]

Thou know'st not, trust me, what are Epigrams,
Flaccus, who think'st them jest and wanton games.
He wantons more, who writes what horrid meat
The plagu'd Tyestes and vex't Tereus eat,
Or Daedalus fitting is boy to fly,
Or Polyphemus' flocks in Sicily.
My booke no windy words nor turgid needes,
Nor swells my Muse with mad smothurnal weedes.
Yet those things all men praise, admire, adore.
True; they praise those, but read these poems more.
[tr. May]

You little know what Epigram contains,
Who deem it but a jest in jocund strains.
He rather jokes, who writes what horrid meat
The plagued Thyestes and vex't Tereus eat;
Or tells who robed the boy with melting wings;
Or of the shepherd Polyphemus sings.
Our muse disdains by fustian to excel,
By rant to rattle, or in buskins swell.
Though turgid themes all men admire, adore,
Be well assured they read my poems more.
[Westminster Review (Apr 1853)]

He knows not, Flaccus, believe me, what Epigrams really are,
who calls them mere trifles and frivolities.
He is much more frivolous, who writes of the feast of the cruel
Tereus; or the banquet of the unnatural Thyestes;
or of Daedalus fitting melting wings to his son's body;
or of Polyphemus feeding his Sicilian flocks.
From my effusions all tumid ranting is excluded;
nor does my Muse swell with the mad garment of Tragedy.
"But everything written in such a style is praised, admired, and adored by all."
I admit it. Things in that style are praised; but mine are read.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

He does not know, believe me, what epigrams are, Flaccus,
who styles them only frivolities and quips.
He is more frivolous who writes of the meal of savage
Tereus, or of thy banquet, dyspeptic Thyestes,
or of Daedalus fitting to his son melting wings,
or of Polyphemus pasturing Sicilian sheep.
Far from poems of mine is all turgescence,
nor does my Muse swell with frenzied tragic train.
"Yet all men praise those tragedies, admire, worship them."
I grant it: those they praise, but they read the others.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You think my epigrams are silly?
Far worse is bombast uttered shrilly --
Like Tereus baking human pie.
Or Daedal son who tried to fly.
Monster Cyclopes keeping sheep.
My verse is of such nonsense free.
It poses not as tragedy.
But praise for those things does exceed?
Those things men praise -- but mine they read.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Trust me, Flaccus, anyone who says it's just "ditties" and "jokes"
doesn't know what epigram is.
The real joker is the poet who describes the feast of cruel
Tereus, or the dinner that gave Thyestes indigestion,
or Daedalus strapping melting wings ot his son,
or Polyphemus pasturing his Sicilian sheep.
No puffery gets near my little books;
my Muse doesn't swell and strut in the trailing robe of Tragedy.
"But that stuff gets the applause, the awe, the worship."
I can't deny it: that stuff does get the applause. But my stuff gets read.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Who deem epigrams mere trifles,
     Flaccus, know not epigram.
He trifles who describes the meal
     wild Tereus, rude Thyestes ate,
The Cretan Glider moulting wax,
     the one-eyed shepherd herding sheep.
Foreign to my verse the tragic sock,
     it's turgid, ranting rhetoric.
"Men praise -- esteem -- revere these works."
     True: them they praise ... while reading me.
[tr. Whigham (1987)]

Added on 29-Oct-21 | Last updated 29-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

The only way to forestall the work of criticism is through censorship, which has the same relation to criticism that lynching has to justice.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
Anatomy of Criticism, “Polemical Introduction” (1957)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Oct-21 | Last updated 21-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Frye, Northrop

A painting in a museum probably hears more foolish remarks than anything else in the world .

[Ce qui entend le plus de bêtises dans le monde est peut-être un tableau de musée.]

Brothers Goncourt
The Brothers Goncourt - Edmond (1822-96) & Jules (1830-70), French writers [a.k.a. J.E. de Goncourt]
Idées et sensations (1866)
    (Source)

Often mis-cited to just Edmond. Alternate translations:
  • "A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world."
  • "What hears the most stupid remarks in the world is perhaps a painting in a museum." [Source]
  • "Perhaps what hears the most nonsense in the world is a museum painting." [Source]
Added on 28-Sep-21 | Last updated 28-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Goncourt, The Brothers

[Fascism] imagines the masses not as a pluralistic citizenry but as a primal horde whose power can be awakened by playing upon atavistic feelings of hatred and belonging. Its chosen leader must exhibit strength: his refusal to compromise and readiness to attack are seen as signs of tough-mindedness, while any concern for constitutionality or the rule of law are disdained as signs of weakness. The most powerful myth, however, is that of the embattled collective. Critics are branded as traitors, while those who do not fit the criteria for inclusion are vilified as outsiders, terrorists, and criminals.

Peter E Gordon
Peter E, Gordon (b. 1966) American intellectual historian
“Why Historical Analogy Matters,” New York Review of Books (7 Jan 2020)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Sep-21 | Last updated 16-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gordon, Peter E.

Nobody wants constructive criticism; it’s all we can do to put up with constructive praise.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 4 (1963)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Sep-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by McLaughlin, Mignon

Since we all need reproving and rebuking, and since we all know that we need reproving and rebuking, we ought — if we were logical — to be extremely grateful to those who reprove and rebuke us. And I suppose that, sooner or later, we are; but almost invariably later.

Frank W. Boreham (1871-1959) Anglo-Australian preacher
The Fiery Crags (1929)
Added on 27-Jul-21 | Last updated 27-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Boreham, Frank W.

People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
Of Human Bondage, ch. 50 (1915)
    (Source)
Added on 11-May-21 | Last updated 11-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Maugham, W. Somerset

As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
Speech, United Nations (25 Sep 2012)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Apr-21 | Last updated 21-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Obama, Barack

A society is most vigorous, and appealing, when both partisan and critic are legitimate voices in the permanent dialogue that is the testing of ideas and experience. One can be a critic of one’s country without being an enemy of its promise.

Daniel Bell (1919-2011) American sociologist, writer, editor, academic
The End of Ideology, Introduction (1961 ed.)
    (Source)
Added on 5-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bell, Daniel

You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist
Notebook entry (c. 1500), Leonardo da Vinci’s Note-Books (1906) [tr. MacCurdy]
    (Source)

Codice Atlantico 76 v. a.
Added on 2-Mar-21 | Last updated 2-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Leonardo da Vinci

It is better to correct your own faults than those of another.

[Κρέσσον τὰ οἰκήϊα ἐλέγχειν ἁμαρτήματα ἢ τὰ ὀθνεῖα.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 60 (Diels) [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Diels cites this as "Fragment 60, (114 N.) DEMOKRATES. 25"; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium III, 13, 46. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "It is better to examine one's own faults than those of others." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "It is better to examine your own mistakes than those of others." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
  • "It is better to rebuke familiar faults than foreign ones." [tr. @sententiq (2018)]
  • "Rather examine your own faults than those of others." [Source]
Added on 2-Feb-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Democritus

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 7:3-5 [NRSV]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • [KJV] "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
  • [GNT] "Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, 'Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,' when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Added on 10-Sep-20 | Last updated 10-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Bible

The Bible has been interpreted to justify such evil practices as, for example, slavery, the slaughter of prisoners of war, the sadistic murders of women believed to be witches, capital punishment for hundreds of offenses, polygamy, and cruelty to animals. It has been used to encourage belief in the grossest superstition and to discourage the free teaching of scientific truths. We must never forget that both good and evil flow from the Bible. It is therefore not above criticism.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality, Introduction (1993)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Aug-20 | Last updated 7-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Allen, Steve

You learn more from getting your butt kicked than from getting it kissed.

Tom Hanks (b. 1956) American actor and filmmaker [Thomas Jeffrey Hanks]
Interview with Larry King, CNN (30 Jun 1995)
Added on 9-Jun-20 | Last updated 9-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Hanks, Tom

Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wants to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
Commonplace Book (1985) [ed. Gardner]
    (Source)
Added on 13-May-20 | Last updated 13-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Forster, E. M.

He who would acquire fame must not show himself afraid of censure. The dread of censure is the death of genius.

William G. Simms (1806-1870) American writer and politician
Egeria, Or Voices of Thought and Counsel, for the Woods and Wayside, “Ambition” (1853)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Apr-20 | Last updated 15-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Simms, William G.

One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, ch. 26 “The First Newspaper” (1889)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Mar-20 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

ANTON EGO: 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 probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

Brad Bird (b. 1957) American director, animator and screenwriter [Phillip Bradley Bird]
Ratatouille (2007)
Added on 12-Feb-20 | Last updated 12-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bird, Brad

Your minds that once did stand erect and strong,
What madness swerves them from their wonted course?

[Quo vobis mentes, rectae quae stare solebant
Antehac, dementis sese flexere viai?]

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) Roman poet, writer
Fragment
    (Source)

Quoted by Cicero in De Senectute, ch. 4, v. 14, vi. 16 [trans. Falconer]
Added on 30-Jan-20 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Ennius

Abuse is a proof that you are felt. If they praise you, you will work no revolution.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1855)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Aug-19 | Last updated 16-Aug-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

America is therefore a free country, in which, lest anyone be hurt by your remarks, you are not allowed to speak freely of private individuals or of the State; of the citizen or of the authorities; of public or of private undertakings; or, in short, of anything at all, except it be of the climate and the soil; and even then Americans will be found ready to defend either the one or the other, as if they had been contrived by the inhabitants of the country.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, Vol. 1, “Public Spirit in the United States” (1835) [tr. Reeve (1839)]
    (Source)
Added on 26-Jan-19 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Tocqueville, Alexis de

Whether Parliament is either a representative body or an efficient one is questionable, but I value it because it criticizes and talks, and because its chatter gets widely reported. So two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Jan-19 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Forster, E. M.

The writer’s role is to menace the public’s conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism and he must focus on the issues of his time.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
“The Challenge of the Mass Media to the 20th Century Writer,” Speech, Library of Congress (15 Jan 1968)
Added on 1-May-17 | Last updated 5-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Serling, Rod

The slander of some people is as great a recommendation as the praise of others. For one is as much hated by the dissolute world, on the score of virtue, as by the good, on that of vice.

fielding-slander-recommendation-praise-wist_info-quote

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) English novelist, dramatist, satirist
The Temple Beau, Act 1, sc. 1 (1729)
    (Source)
Added on 24-Jan-17 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fielding, Henry

A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“Table-Talk,” Drift-wood (1857)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Nov-16 | Last updated 16-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

If you are threatened or offended by people disagreeing, challenging or even ridiculing your faith, your faith can’t be that strong.

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Twitter (23 Sep 2012)
    (Source)
Added on 25-Aug-16 | Last updated 25-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gervais, Ricky

Kragar made a sound I won’t attempt to describe. I could sense Loiosh holding back several remarks. It seems I surround myself with people who think I’m an idiot, which probably says something deep and profound about me.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Dragon (1998)
Added on 12-Aug-16 | Last updated 12-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Brust, Steven

And remember, your critics want you to be as unhappy, unfulfilled and unimportant as they are. Let your happiness eat them up from inside.

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Twitter (15 Nov 2011)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Aug-16 | Last updated 11-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Gervais, Ricky

If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.

Art Buchwald (1925-2007) American humorist, columnist
Speech, Horatio Alger Award Dinner, Washington, DC (May 1989)

Buchwald used a number of variations of this phrase; this particular one was reported a week later in the International Herald Tribune (24 May 1989), but other versions go back to the 1960s (e.g., "Woe to the person in this country who attacks the establishment. It isn’t jail, nor even physical harm, that he must fear. His main problem is that by attacking the Establishment, he automatically becomes a member of it, and there is no greater punishment in the world," from his column of 7 May 1968). See here for more info.
Added on 18-Jul-16 | Last updated 18-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Buchwald, Art

I don’t ever lose sight of the fact that this country is the best one. I don’t care nearly as much about other societies. My country is the one I want to make better. But I do think the patriotic thing to do is to critique my country. How else do you make a country better but by pointing out its flaws?

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
“Bill Maher, Incorrect American Patriot,” Interview with Sharon Waxman, Washington Post (8 Nov 2002)
    (Source)
Added on 13-Jul-16 | Last updated 13-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Maher, Bill

The covers of this book are too far apart.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
(Attributed)

One-sentence book review. First attributed to Bierce in 1923, but showing up in anonymous humor as early as 1899. See here for more information.
Added on 31-Mar-16 | Last updated 31-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bierce, Ambrose

Give me the avow’d, the erect, the manly foe,
Bold I can meet — perhaps may turn his blow;
But of all plagues, good Heaven, thy wrath can send,
Save, save, oh! save me from the Candid Friend!

George Canning (1770-1827) British stateman, politician, Prime Minister
“New Morality,” Anti-Jacobin (9 Jul 1798)
Added on 28-Mar-16 | Last updated 4-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Canning, George

Blame where you must, be candid where you can,
And be each critic the Good-Natured Man.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) Irish poet, playwright, novelist
The Good-Natur’d Man, Epilogue (1768)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Goldsmith, Oliver

Those see nothing but Faults that seek for nothing else.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #5021 (1732)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Feb-16 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fuller, Thomas (1654)

There’s not the least thing can be said or done, but people will talk and find fault.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) Spanish novelist
Don Quixote, Part 1, Book 2, ch. 4 (1605)
Added on 12-Jan-16 | Last updated 12-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Cervantes, Miguel de

The concept of loyalty is distorted when it is understood to mean blind acceptance. It is correctly interpreted when it is assumed to cover honest criticism.

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) Swedish diplomat, author, UN Secretary-General (1953-61)
Speech, Johns Hopkins University (14 Jun 1955)
Added on 15-Dec-15 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Hammarskjold, Dag

When my friend does something stupid, he is just my friend doing something stupid. When I do something stupid, I have deeply betrayed myself.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (2001)
Added on 13-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Richardson, James

Would you have a friend who talks to you the way you talk to yourself?

Carolyn Ann "Callie" Khouri (b. 1957) American screenwriter, producer, director, feminist
Commencement Address, Sweet Briar College (22 May 1994)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Jun-15 | Last updated 17-Jun-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Khouri, Callie

More important than any belief a man holds is the way he holds it. Any fool or fanatic can embrace a doctrine. Even if true, it remains a dogma unless it is evaluated in the light of its alternatives, and the relevant evidence for them.

Sidney Hook (1902-1989) American philosopher
Political Power and Personal Freedom, ch. 28 “Socialism Without Utopia: A Rejoinder to Max Eastman”(1959)
Added on 17-Apr-15 | Last updated 17-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hook, Sydney

I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
(Attributed)
Added on 28-Jan-15 | Last updated 28-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kepler, Johannes

No man ought to be hindered saying or writing what he pleases on the conduct of those who undertake the management of national affairs, in which all are concerned, and therefore have the right to inquire, and to publish their suspicions concerning them. For if you punish the slanderer, you deter the fair inquirer.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
Political Disquisitions, Book 1 “Of Government, briefly” (1774)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Dec-14 | Last updated 11-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burgh, James

I began my talk by saying that I had not written my plays for purposes of discussion. At once, I felt a ripple of panic run through the hall. I suddenly realised why. To everyone present, discussion was the whole point of drama. That was why the faculty had been endowed — that was why all those buildings had been put up! I had undermined the entire reason for their existence.

Tom Stoppard (b. 1937) Czech-English playwright and screenwriter
In Kenneth Tynan, “Tom Stoppard,” The New Yorker (19 Dec 1977)
Added on 21-Nov-14 | Last updated 21-Nov-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Stoppard, Tom

All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
“I Am Joss Wedon — AMA,” Reddit (10 Apr 2012)
    (Source)

On fan fiction and academic analysis.
Added on 15-Oct-14 | Last updated 15-Oct-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Whedon, Joss

Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.

Robert Francis Kennedy (1925-1968) American politician
“Value of Dissent,” speech, Nashville, Tennessee (21 Mar 1968)
Added on 13-Oct-14 | Last updated 13-Oct-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kennedy, Robert F.

If you have a friend that will reprove your faults and foibles, consider you enjoy a blessing which the king upon the throne cannot have.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
    (Source)
Added on 25-Sep-14 | Last updated 25-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Burgh, James

Neither human applause nor human censure is to be taken as the test of truth. He who should satisfy himself either with being popular, or with being unpopular, would equally be taking man’s judgment for his standard. But either the one or the other should set us upon careful self-examination.

Richard Whately (1787-1863) English logician, theologian, archbishop
Sermon, Christ Church, Dublin (22 Oct 1837)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Sep-14 | Last updated 8-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Whately, Richard

  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >