Louis Kronenberger

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Louis Kronenberger (December 9, 1904April 30, 1980) was an American critic and author. He was a drama critic for Time Magazine from 1938 to 1961 and theater arts professor at Brandeis University.



Company Manners: A Cultural Inquiry into American Life (1954)

  • On a very rough-and-ready basis we might define an eccentric as a man who is a law unto himself, and a crank as one who, having determined what the law is, insists on laying it down to others. An eccentric puts ice cream on steak simply because he likes it; should a crank do so, he would endow the act with moral grandeur and straightaway denounce as sinners (or reactionaries) all who failed to follow suit […] Cranks, at their most familiar, are a sort of peevish prophets, and it's not enough that they should be in the right; others must also be in the wrong.
    • "The One and the Many", Company Manners: A Cultural Inquiry into American Life (1954). Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill. 229 pages
    • Essay also appeared in Perspectives USA, Spring 1954
  • There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on the part of a great many people to the effect that when you cease to believe you may cease to behave.
    • "The Spirit of the Age", p. 14.
  • The trouble with us in America isn't that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.
    • "The Spirit of the Age", p. 18.
  • The trouble with our age is all signposts and no destination.
    • p. 26.
  • Ours must be the first age whose great goal, on a nonmaterial plane, is not fulfilment but adjustment; and perhaps just such a goal has served as maladjustment's weapon.
    • p. 65.
  • One of the misfortunes of our time is that in getting rid of false shame we have killed off so much real shame as well.
    • p. 76.
  • The Englishman wants to be recognized as a gentleman, or as some other suitable species of human being, the American wants to be considered a good guy.
    • p. 120.
  • Individualism is rather like innocence; there must be something unconscious about it.

The Cart and the Horse (1964)

  • Once you have money, you can quite truthfully affirm that money isn't everything.
  • For young people today things move so fast there is no problem of adjustment. Before you can adjust to A, B has appeared leading C by the hand, and with D in the distance.
  • There are, of course, good happy endings as well as bad ones, but surely they are of a kind that in some way expresses happiness rather than glibly promises it.[1].
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