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The Critic as Artist

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  617 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Published originally in 1881, The Critic As Artist is one of Oscar Wilde's major aesthetic statements.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Green Integer (first published 1890)
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Community Reviews

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Bookdragon Sean
Apr 14, 2016 Bookdragon Sean rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: book reviewers
I’ve just been inspired.

As if my admiration for this man, for this genius, couldn’t get any higher. Wilde…..Wilde is wonderful. Wonderful Wilde, that’s what I’m going to call him from now on. Wonderful Wilde offers a very compelling argument in here. Being a literary critic and a reviewer of art are officious and useless things, according to one his characters in here; thus, Wonderful Wilde sets himself up for a brutal counter attack. As hapless Ernest questions:

” Why should those who cannot cre
Feb 02, 2016 Ygraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: critical-theory
art is empty. as it exists, separated from its creator and context, it carries no inherent meaning; it exists and people engage with it, not as itself, but as they understand it. and so a piece of art is both meaningless and full of infinite meaning, something different to every person that touches it, something different every time it is experienced.
Momina Masood
Jun 07, 2014 Momina Masood rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who think outside the box or appreciate the ones who do
Criticism as an Art Form:

I assume it is widely known how witty and outlandish Wilde can get. Well, here, he simply outdoes himself; more so, because this isn't fiction and what he says here, he very well means it.

The Critic as Artist is more than one of Wilde's aesthetic statements: it is an unprecedented attempt at defending, not art or literature as has been the tradition, but criticism! The critic is hailed as being someone greater than the artist and if that does not pique your interest the
❅ Eze ❅
Jan 31, 2016 ❅ Eze ❅ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pero que presuntuoso y engreido. Yo crei que iba a encontrar mi "modelo a seguir" en este señor, que de dandy no tenia nada.

En menos de 40 paginas resulta obvio que es el tipo de persona que trata mal a los mozos en un restaurante y a los empleados en un hotel.
Claramente es el tipo de persona que trata de enseñarte a ser un seductor mientras el no consigue ninguna conquista, que te llama ignorante cuando el es un pedante.

En pocas palabras, una mala persona. Lo que es peor, un mal escritor.
Conversación entre dos personajes, uno de ellos expone sus ideas, el otro Ernest llega a la conclusión:"¡Ah, qué contradictorio eres!", a lo que Gilbert, como diría Wilde, responde:"El crítico artista, como el místico, es siempre contradictorio."
Bryn Hammond
Nov 18, 2015 Bryn Hammond rated it it was amazing
Extra star because every sentence is cadenced.
Extra star for wit, of course, plus a touch of postmodernity.
The title comes of Ernest's argument (was it Ernest or the other chap with the suitable name? - it was Gilbert) a) that artists are critics: without the critical function they do not want to improve on or change the art that went before. This is perfectly true; b) critics are creative: often a modern novel or painting is a dreary affair, yet can kickstart the critic on a creative ramble of
Mar 25, 2012 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-writing, classics
The Critic as Artist is an essay written in the form of a dialogue between Ernest, who believes that criticism is easy, worthless and art-killing, and Gilbert, who is certain that criticism is a separate form of art. Gilbert states that being a critic can be (and normally is) more challenging than creating a masterpiece. Prior to reading this book, I had the same views as Ernest, but now I'm not so sure. Gilbert's reasoning seems logical, but nowadays the uniqueness of each individual and the im ...more
Aug 16, 2016 Nicolás rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Es la primera parte de un ensayo en el que se argumenta la labor del critico es inclusive...más importante que la del "creador/artista". El ensayo esta lleno de algunos datos históricos, mitología, arte, etc.

"Menos aún deseo hablar con erudición, pues la conversación erudita es pose de ignorantes o profesión de desocupados mentales. En cuanto a eso que llaman conversación culta, no es sino el método idiota por el que filántropos aún más idiotas intentan desarmar el justo rencor de las clases del
Elena Delos (EscribadeAvalon)
Jul 19, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, academic
Everything Wilde writes feels kind of like a giant piss-take, and I love it.
Elena Delos (EscribadeAvalon)
Maravillosos ensayos, aprendí mucho y concordé en varios puntos con el autor.
Aug 15, 2014 Harperac rated it it was amazing
This book is witty, profound, and utterly convincing. It takes as its focus the assertion that the critic is just as much of an artist as an artist, even more so actually, but it ranges very widely. The best summary is given in the book, at the end:

ERNEST: You have told me many strange things tonight, Gilbert. You have told me that it is more difficult to talk about a thing than to do it, and that to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world; you have told me that all Art is imm
Jun 15, 2013 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a compilation made by Richard Ellis of all Wilde's literary criticism, and the best pieces remain the most familiar, i.e., "The Decay of Lying," "The Critic as Artist" and The Soul of Man Under Socialism -- essential reading for anyone interested in Wilde the artist or the man. I also found notable the review of Walter Pater's Appreciations with this moving defense of bias:

It is possible, of course, that I may exaggerate about them [i.e., Pater's books]. I certainly hope that I do; for w
Jan 15, 2014 Velissa rated it really liked it
Making this a 4.34/5

One day I will stop Wilde fangirling, but that'll probably be once I have exhausted material of his to read
(Hmm... which is to be rather soon, a bridge I shall cross when they've blown half of it away I suppose).

In either case, Wilde essentially re-configures the essay into a conversation between two men (or at least the usual Wilde version of a dialogue in which one character voraciously extols his provocative opinions while the other innocent canvas has his opinions take a
Nov 11, 2015 Gaëlle rated it it was amazing
"Le public fait preuve d'une tolérance étonnante. Il pardonne tout sauf le génie."

Je cherchais un texte du XIXème qui donne une idée de ce que pouvait être l'art pur, sa représentation, son appréhension par la société. Et puis comme je traine ma pléiade de Wilde partout avec moi (oui.(enfin pas dans mon sac à main mais dans tous mes apparts quoi)), j'ai décidé de me replonger dans ses textes critiques, celui-ci notamment qui en plus était construit comme un dialogue didactique ce qui était parfa
Sep 06, 2012 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to add this old time favorite. In "The Soul of Man Under Socialism", Wilde shows his theoretical power, and delineates his vision for a world free of unjustifiable labor and of the degradation of human beings as individuals in a productive society. His criticism of free market systems which exploit people, includes a much notable statement about how such conditions would turn art into a farce, and how they would ultimately debilitate the respectability and autonomy of artists and other cre ...more
This is like one super-long essay on art & art criticism, presented as a dialogue between two dudes. Very philosophical, and some very good points made by Wilde, but not very fun to read. I tried to get more into it, but it was no use: I still nodded off a few times. I finished it, though.

The level of excitement found here reminded me a lot of Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, and that's not a good thing!
Lachlan Smith
Oct 24, 2012 Lachlan Smith rated it liked it
Very interesting to begin with, but I couldn't finish it because Wilde did not sustain the interest - however the first few remarks on art-criticism were very thought provoking.
Bistra Ivanova
Nov 22, 2008 Bistra Ivanova rated it it was amazing
just great! his views about art are really interesting and his way of putting them is... awesome! i love his sense of humour!
Jul 15, 2016 Deni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
debo la reseña porque estoy con el jefe en el laburo y no puedo hacerla aún
Panka Bor
Oct 06, 2016 Panka Bor rated it really liked it
Pretty succesful day actually. Lot of uni read for my critical reading module tomorrow so I had to set my goals and read as much as I can today. I've enjoyed this a lot, it was interesting but kinda' wordy so I had to highlight the key bits. I would recommend this for an optional reading as well. Enjoy!
Sep 09, 2016 Angelique rated it really liked it
Desde el principio, Wilde compromete a sus personajes con los principios que no solo defenderá a lo largo del diálogo, bajo la figura de Gilbert, sino que además cincelara en la forma, en la manera de presentar esta obra crítica- signada bajo el peso del genero que nació en Grecia, con Platón, el del diálogo.
La oralidad, el juego por el desplazamiento de un sentido dominante hacia el otro, es una de las propuestas fundamentales del diálogo- no solo desde el inicio, en esas pequeñas acciones que
Alexandra Paiva
Jul 20, 2014 Alexandra Paiva rated it liked it
As the title conveys, "The artist as critic" is an essay by Oscar Wilde where, in a dialogue between character’s Ernest and Gilbert, the author examines the function of the Critic in relation to art as its very own creative process.

It starts out on grounds of utter ignorance. Here, Ernest will state that "In the best days of art there were no art-critics". Indeed, according to him, Art appeared by the messianic hand of the artist who graced an audience that " when it saw it, worshipped and was d
Jan 23, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, irish-lit
"Shakespeare might have met Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the white streets of London, or seen the serving-men of rival houses bite their thumbs at each other in the opean square; but Hamlet came out of his soul, and Romeo out of his passion. They were elements of his nature to which he gave visible form, impulses that stirred so stongly within him that he has, as it were perforce, to suffer them to realize their energy..."

Although "The Critic as Artist" is curiously written in play form, it i
Laura C.
Il critico come artista
Chi è un critico d'arte? E' giusto che ogni artista venga sottoposto ad analisi, che venga giudicato per i suoi lavori e le sue idee, oppure dovrebbe essere lasciato in pace, a creare quadri, sculture o testi letterari? In questo dialogo notturno tra due amici, Ernest e Gilbert, si scopre chi è un critico e la difficoltà che comporta esserlo. Si scopre che anche un critico può essere un artista. Crea, immagina. E può farlo grazie alla sua mente, al suo spirito e alla sua p
Erika Lau
Jun 09, 2015 Erika Lau rated it did not like it
This book made no sense to me. Maybe I'm too young and immature, maybe not philosophical or artistic enough. Gilbert - what an incredibly annoying snob. I realise that wasn't what Wilde was trying to demonstrate. He probably wanted to explain all the layers of Art and Criticism. But if I'd ever meet a person like Gilbert I'd probably slap them as soon as they start talking. Every time Ernest asks him a question, Gilbert just start chatting nonsense. Again, perhaps (most probably) I'm just not ed ...more
Sep 28, 2015 Louis rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Some parts couldn't keep me interested, others glued me to the pages. This one was a bit of a hit and miss for me. Still interesting though.

Wilde portrays criticism as not the form we tend to refer to (base, unfounded, destructive remarks), but rather a new creation based of of another one. According to Wilde, criticism can help us be progressive if used in the wrong way, that is not to judge a work, but to use it to fuel another artistic creation. I think that's a very progressive view, especia
Aug 29, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew what a heavy intense read! The Critic as Artist is an intellectual, highly philosophical, enlightening and thought-provoking dialogue/discussion with regard to the roles played by the artistic, literary and aesthetic critic and criticism. It intimidates me a bit, that is to say, a lot, due to its depth and intensity; I think I might have to re-read it soon for class to gain a more thorough understanding of the work and to reflect upon it in a more critical manner.
Oct 28, 2007 Elsie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can this have an average rating of 5.2?? I really like Oscar Wilde, but I never know if he means what he says (I know that's the point). This reminds me of my brother that way. I can definitely give .5 stars more for saying in the last paragraph that he disagrees with almost everything in the book. And I do think that socialism is the only way to really protect the individual. So.
Sarah Giffen
Oct 19, 2016 Sarah Giffen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"People cry out against the sinner, yet it is not the sinful, but the stupid, who are our shame. There is no sin except stupidity."
This has to been my favorite line in the whole thing, though there are so many lines I loved.
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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being E ...more
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“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” 12569 likes
“There is no sin except stupidity.” 1231 likes
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