21 November 2011 1:51 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Good reviews can be as harmful as bad ones, says Stephen Sondheim. In an extract from his new book, he reflects on a life of prizes, putdowns – and the joy of songs sung in Sanskrit

After a rotten review, you don't remember the good ones. The only pleasure you have is to reiterate, both to yourself and to anyone who'll listen, the bad ones, which you can quote in exquisite detail. Moreover, you have to come to terms with the truth that no matter how doggedly you try to deceive yourself to the contrary, if you're going to believe your good reviews, you're going to have to believe the less good ones as well, unless you're deeply self-delusional.

I've worked with a few of the deluded, and there's a part of me that envies their blindness. Richard Rodgers [one half of Rodgers and Hammerstein] was one. For all his success, he was so sensitive to bad »

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