Alfred Kazin (1915-1998) was een Amerikaanse schrijver en criticus. Delen uit zijn dagboeken zijn gepubliceerd als Alfred Kazin's Journals.
April 20, 1956
The trouble with most critics is that they think like men in a corner; they can deal with a work only at close quarters, by commenting on what is put directly before them. If the art of criticism means anything, it means the gift of primary thinking, of originality, which puts a principle where we did not know one before; which establishes laws, which overhauls custom. [...] The greatest critics are either the primary philosophers of art, like Aristotle, or the wisest of craftsmen in dealing with their fellows, like Eliot, or the sages of life in general and of the artistic faculty in particular, like Johnson, or the innovators like Coleridge. The most useful of critics are the real kenners of fellows' work, like Matthew Arnold, those who hold a whole art in their hands and make you see all its possibilities in their pages. There are also entertaining critics (destroyers of a festering tradition) like Shaw; true spiritual critics or upholders, like Emerson or Lawrence .... But the greatest of critics are those who restore to us a conscious reason for liking what we like, for disliking what we (dis)like, who practice the art of judgment and analysis, the empirical arts of criticism and all the time lift this empirical work into universal significance, who connect it with systematic human knowledge.