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Kenneth Tynan (1927 – 1980)


British author most famous for his theatre criticism.
Kenneth Tynan
Every speech, for Olivier, is like a mass of marble at which the sculptor chips away until its essential form and meaning are revealed. No matter how ignoble the character he plays, the result is always noble as a work of art.
Tynan quotes
The buttocks are the most aesthetically pleasing part of the body because they are non-functional. Although they conceal an essential orifice, these pointless globes are as near as the human form can ever come to abstract art.
Tynan
A villain who shares one's guilt is inevitably more attractive than a hero convinced of one's innocence.




Tynan Kenneth quotes
Her style looks absurdly simple — an effortless act of projection, a serpentine lasso whereby her voice casually winds itself around our most vulnerable fantasies. But it is not easy. It is what remains when ingratiation, sentimentality and the manifold devices of heart-warming crap have been ruthlessly pared away. Steel and silk are left, shining and durable.
Tynan Kenneth
We shall be judged by what we do, not by how we felt while we were doing it.
Kenneth Tynan quotes
I believe in neither a director’s nor a writer’s theatre, but a theatre of intelligent audiences. I count myself as a member of an intelligent audience, and I wrote to you as such. That you should disagree with me I can understand, but that you should resent my expressing my opinions is something that frankly amazes me. I thought we had outgrown the idea of theatre as a mystic rite born of secret communion between author, director, actors and an empty auditorium.
Kenneth Tynan
Art is a private thing, the artist makes it for himself; a comprehensible work is the product of a journalist. We need works that are strong, straight, precise, and forever beyond understanding.
Tynan Kenneth quotes
I attacked those Western playwrights who use their influence and affluence to preach to the world the nihilistic doctrine that life is pointless and irrationally destructive, and that there is nothing we can do about it. Until everyone is fed, clothed, housed and taught, until human beings have equal leisure to contemplate the overwhelming fact of mortality, we should not (I argued) indulge in the luxury of "privileged despair."
Tynan
John Osborne spoke out in a vein of ebullient, free-wheeling rancour that betokened the arrival of something new in the theatre — a sophisticated, articulate lower-class. Most of the critics were offended by Jimmy Porter, but not on account of his anger; a working-class hero is expected to be angry. What nettled them was something quite different: his self-confidence. This was no envious inferior whose insecurity they could pity.
Tynan Kenneth
In most writers, style is a welcome, an invitation, a letting down of the drawbridge between the artist and the world. Shaw had no time for such ruses. Unlike most of his countrymen, he abominated charm, which he regarded as evidence of chronic temperamental weakness.
Kenneth Tynan
What, when drunk, one sees in other women, one sees in Garbo sober.




Kenneth Tynan quotes
A good drama critic is one who perceives what is happening in the theatre of his time. A great drama critic also perceives what is not happening.
Kenneth Tynan
All writing is an antisocial act, since the writer is a man who can speak freely only when alone; to be himself he must lock himself up, to communicate he must cut himself off from all communication; and in this there is something always a little mad.
Tynan quotes
His puritan, muscular, moor-tramping soul (superbly mirrored in Higgins's hymn to the intellect in Pygmalion) bred in him a loathing of all things, whether poems or gadgets, that were designed to comfort the human condition without actively trying to improve it.
Tynan Kenneth
One would have thought that the notion of an impersonal critic was as patently absurd as that of an impersonal person: yet playwrights still cherish it as a sort of holy ideal. Admittedly, we all make mystiques: but this one is particularly wishful. The man who asks for an anonymous, impersonal criticism is trying to elevate criticism to the status of a science; whereas it is, I am afraid, only an art. The critic's business is to write readable English: the playwright's to write speakable English. Beyond that it is every man for himself.
Tynan Kenneth quotes
Any country that has sexual censorship will eventually have political censorship.
Kenneth Tynan
I hope I never need to believe in God. It would be an awful confession of failure.
Kenneth Tynan quotes
When a society has doubts about its future, it tends to produce spokesmen whose main appeal is to the emotions, who argue from intuitions, and whose claim to be truth-bearers rests solely on intense personal feeling.
Kenneth Tynan
A good many inconveniences attend playgoing in any large city, but the greatest of them is usually the play itself.
Tynan Kenneth
She shows herself to the audience like the Host to the congregation.


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