literary criticism

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Criticism, Dramatic and Literary

 

See Also: WRITERS/WRITING, POETS/POETRY

  1. Aired their grievances like the wash —Daphne Merkin
  2. [Reading about Frank Sinatra’s escapades] as refreshing as inhaling carbon monoxide —Barbara Grizzuiti Harrison, reviewing Kitty Kelley’s unauthorized biography of Frank Sinatra, New York Times Book Review, November 2, 1986
  3. [For author W. P. Kinsella] a baseball stadium is a window on the human heart, and his novel … stirs it like the refreshing crack of a bat against the ball —Miami Herald review of Shoeless Joe, a baseball novel, by W. P. Kinsella

    Like many comparisons, this one was pulled out of the review and used as an attention-getting blurb on back of the author’s next novel.

  4. The book is like a professor’s joke. It’s nothing if not erudite —Vincent Canby, review of movie adaptation of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, New York Times, September 24, 1986
  5. Book reviews … a kind of infant’s disease to which newborn books are subject —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
  6. Critics are like brushers of other men’s clothes —Benjamin Disraeli
  7. Critics are like eunuchs in a harem. They see how it should be done every night. But they can’t do it themselves —Brendan Behan
  8. Even when he’s not at his best, his books still are appetizing, much like a box of popcorn —Tom Herman, book review (The Panic of ‘89 by Paul Erdman), Wall Street Journal, January 16, 1987
  9. His [author of pamphlet] words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into the familiar dreary pattern —George Orwell
  10. It [The House of Seven Gables] is like a great symphony, with no touch alterable without injury to the harmony —William James, letter to brother, Henry, January 19, 1869
  11. It’s [Praying for Rain, Jerome Weidman’s autobiography] … like a raisin-laced kugel, the noodles crammed with juicy morsels about some people, obscure and famous, who have been near and dear to him —Helen Dudar, New York Times Book Review, September 21, 1986
  12. Language is as precise as ‘hello!’ and as simple as “Give me a glass of tea” —Vladimir Mayakovsky about Anton Chekhov
  13. Literary criticism is an art, like the writing of tragedies or the making of love, and similarly does not pay —Clifton Fadiman
  14. Much of the text reads about as joyfully as a Volkswagon manual —George F. Will
  15. The novel [A Special Destiny by Seymour Epstein] reads like the fictionalized autobiography of a young writer exorcising frustrations and resentments —Bethamy Probst, New York Times Book Review, September 21, 1986
  16. Novels … like literary knuckleballs —George F. Will, about Elmore Leonard’s novels
  17. One long evening of evasions, as if the playwright were taking the Fifth Amendment on advice of counsel —Frank Rich, New York Times, December 12, 1986

    Drama critic Rich has the gift for perfectly suiting the comparison to what it describes … in this case a play entitled Dream of a Blacklisted Actor.

  18. The prose lays there like a dead corpse on the page —Anon
  19. Prose rushes out like a spring-fed torrent sweeping the reader away —Chuck Morris
  20. Reviewing an autobiography is the literary equivalent of passing judgment on someone’s life —Richard Lourie, prefacing his review of Eric Ambler’s Autobiography, New York Times Book Review, August 17, 1986
  21. Style … as strong and personal as Van Gogh’s brushstrokes —George F. Will, about Elmore Leonard’s novels
  22. (The author’s) style is as crisp as if it had been quick-frozen —Max Apple, about T. Coraghessan Boyle, New York Times Book Review, 1979
  23. They [critics] bite like fish, at anything, especially at bookes [books] —Thomas Dekker
  24. They [Gorky’s stories] float through the air like songs —Isaac Babel, lecture, 1934
  25. Thin stuff with no meat in it, like a woman, who has starved herself to get what she thinks is a good figure —Ben Ames Williams

    This simile is used by the novelist-hero of Leave Her to Heaven to describe his current work.

  26. To many people dramatic criticism must seem like an attempt to tattoo soap bubbles —John Mason Brown

    See Also: FUTILITY, IMPOSSIBILITY

  27. The undisputed fame enjoyed by Shakespeare as a writer … is, like every other lie, a great evil —Leo Tolstoy
  28. Watching the movie is like being on a cruise to nowhere aboard a ship with decent service and above-par fast food —Vincent Canby, New York Times movie review, October 2, 1983
  29. [Henry James] writes fiction as if it were a painful duty —Oscar Wilde
  30. (Tolstoy) writes like an ocean, in huge rolling waves, and it doesn’t look like it was processed through his thinking —Mel Brook, Playboy, 1975
  31. Writes like an angel, a fallen, hard-driving angel —A. Alvarez about Robert Stone, New York Review of Books, 1986
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.literary criticism - a written evaluation of a work of literature
piece of writing, written material, writing - the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect); "the writing in her novels is excellent"; "that editorial was a fine piece of writing"
explication de texte - a method of literary criticism that analyzes details of a text in order to reveal its structure and meaning
textual criticism - comparison of a particular text with related materials in order to establish authenticity
new criticism - literary criticism based on close analysis of the text
analysis - a form of literary criticism in which the structure of a piece of writing is analyzed
critical review, critique, review article, review - an essay or article that gives a critical evaluation (as of a book or play)
2.literary criticism - the informed analysis and evaluation of literature
literary study - the humanistic study of literature
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