Criticism is easy, art is difficult.

-Phillipe Destouches


  1. Patricia Mitchell

    Yes, if I am to memorize anything it will be the Destouches’ … my brain is small, my mind is slow.

    Thanks for the quote. I’ve read the Rilke, but it’s been an awfully long time. (I do remember doing a lot of underlining when it as reading it, though.)

  2. Here’s Rilke saying the same:

    Read as little as possible of literary criticism – such things are either partisan opinions, which
    have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are just clever word-games, in
    which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of
    approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. – Always trust yourself
    and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentations, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you
    are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments
    their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced
    or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to
    completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own
    understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what
    it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

    – from Stephen Mitchell’s translation of Letters to a Young Poet, available online

    Both quotes are very forceful (and artful), I think, though Destouches’ is
    easier to memorize! Lovely thoughts, and your blog is a joy to read as