Samir’s Selection 05/07/2014 (p.m.)

  • “It’s a thing of no great difficulty,” according to Plutarch, “to raise objections against another man’s oration, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.”

    There are two ways to interpret Plutarch when he suggests that a critic should be able to produce “a better in its place.” In a straightforward sense, he could mean that a critic must be more talented than the artist she critiques… But perhaps Plutarch is suggesting something slightly different, something a bit closer to Cicero’s claim that one should “criticize by creation, not by finding fault.”

    Genuine criticism creates a precious opening for an author to become better on his own terms — a process that’s often excruciating, but also almost always meaningful.

    tags: essay writing drafting reviewing criticism English howto quote Plutarch Cicero

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