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Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews (Canto Classics) Paperback – 14 Nov 2013

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Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews (Canto Classics) + Selected Literary Essays (Canto Classics) + Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 391 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (14 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107639271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107639270
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 214,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a fellow and tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics, the Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Product Description


'C. S. Lewis [was] one of the very best critics writing in English in the twentieth century, vivid, provoking, and eloquent, as well as deeply learned in the literature of Europe from the ancient classics to his own time, with a special mastery of medieval and Renaissance poetry. He is now popularly better known for his fiction and his religious writings than his literary criticism. But it is his gifts as a critic which will endure as his truly pre-eminent legacy. Like Samuel Johnson, on whose personality and writings Lewis modelled himself, he is a commentator whose insights and opinions are enriching even when one disagrees with them, raising central questions and offering challenging perspectives … There is no essay by Lewis on any writer that does not provoke attention and inspire awe at his energy and clarity of mind.' Claude Rawson, Yale University

'Almost nothing Lewis wrote is without apercu, often unexpected, always cogently expressed.' Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

A collection of the literary-critical essays and reviews by C. S. Lewis, most of them previously uncollected, and one essay, 'Image and Imagination', published for the first time. The volume concerns a wide range of literary topics and includes Lewis's reviews of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like everything Lewis wrote. This book contains his forewords of other books and similar literary criticism papers, many of which had never before been published.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Image and Imagination: Mostly for English scholars 28 Nov. 2013
By Audrey - Published on
Format: Paperback
Image and Imagination is the book you would give to a C.S. Lewis-loving English professor.

As always, Lewis’s writing is excellent, and his essays are thought provoking, as far as their topics allow. The simple reason for reading Image and Imagination is that this book is a collection of Lewis’s academic writing. The challenge is that Image and Imagination is largely a book about literature and the analysis and study of literature.

The book takes its title from an unpublished essay in which Lewis describes his thoughts on the link between reality and imagination. The rest of the book contain a variety of reviews, a handful of prefaces and introductions Lewis wrote for other books, and four out-of-print essays. Two of these, “The idea of an ‘English School’” and “Our English syllabus,” describe how Lewis viewed Oxford’s undergraduate English program. (Rather like Dorothy Sayer’s The Lost Tools of Learning , Lewis explains in these essays his thoughts on higher education's purpose and methods.)

For Lewis fans reading Image and Imagination, the main value might be gleaning the various references to old Inklings friends, such as the set of essays on books by Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and Tolkien. There are also some great thoughts on literary theories, and yet—just reading through some of the book reviews—I was struck by the absurdity of reading anyone’s assessment of a long-forgotten book, one which I’ve never read, am barely interested in for its own sake, and will likely never read. I'm able to enjoy the essays and reviews to an extent, mostly as an English major and minor scholar, but I suspect most Lewis fans, unless they happen to be literary scholars as well, will find the essays a more difficult read.

So, if you desperately need something new to read, or, you might find Image and Imagination interesting. Parts of it are certainly worth thinking about. Otherwise, if you're looking at it because it has Lewis's name on the cover, you'll probably find his fiction or his other essays a lot more worthwhile.

[My thanks to NetGalley and Cambridge University Press for providing me with a Kindle review copy of Image and Imagination, in exchange for my honest opinion of the book.]
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Treading Softly 1 Jan. 2014
By Gord Wilson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his excellent book about reading, An Experiment in Criticism An Experiment in Criticism (Canto), C.S. Lewis made an argument that there are different kinds of readers. Whether you view this as three or five stars will depend on what sort of reader you are. This is the Lewis for those who read The Discarded Image The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto Classics) and his volume on sixteenth century literature English Literature in the Sixteenth Century. Lewis was chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge, and in a certain sense, these reviews center around classical and English literature, but at one remove, with Lewis reviewing someone's book on an Arthurian tale. What's interesting about this is it puts you in Lewis' own milieu, interacting with the authors and ideas, through books, of his day. It's also interesting to note who published these reviews. Many were in the Oxford Magazine or "Theology". The new essay here was written for T.S. Eliot, editor of "The New Criterion".

This essay makes some interesting points, and seems to me to go with The Abolition of Man The Abolition of Man. although I found it more readable than that book, which always seemed to me to be an answer to a controversy I know nothing about. Fortunately, Cambridge Press/ Canto has enabled the "Look Inside" feature, so a prospective reader can scan the contents. I was interested to read reviews of authors I've read other books by, but I'd have liked Lewis to have reviewed other books by them, such as George Steiner's "In Bluebeard's Castle" and Denis de Rougemont's "Love Declared". General readers may enjoy the four reviews of his friend, Tolkien's, books, and some, like me, the reviews of Charles Williams' poetry. The best writing on that, however is the preface from "Essays Presented to Charles Williams", the entire book being well-worth reading Essays Presented to Charles Williams.

So now we come to more likely readers for this collection. Those who are reading Milton, or the same person writing about Milton whom Lewis here reviews. Or Spenser, or The Odyssey. Almost everywhere Lewis lets drop a brief, perceptive comment that readers will find invaluable. Another invaluable thing is the nearly forty pages of notes in the back. These would be more helpful as footnotes (and less likely to be missed), but they add immeasurably to the reviews. I have trod softly in this review, my only goal being to dissuade a certain sort of reader who reads Lewis for the stories or apologetics, and to persuade another sort of reader who favors the academic side. As an example of the second sort, a philosophy professor, on hearing I had obtained this volume, immediately asked to borrow it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Useful for Lewis scholars, not for lay readers 6 Feb. 2014
By sds - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
With the exception of a previously unpublished essay, this is just a collection of book reviews Lewis wrote that were printed in a variety of places over the years. Reading reviews of non-contemporary books that one knows little to nothing about is pretty dull. I definitely enjoyed Lewis' discussion of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but otherwise his book is only for the most intense and academic of Lewis scholars and historians.

(A digital copy of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley for purposes of review.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Walter Hooper adds yet another important set of essays and reviews to the Lewis canon 1 Jan. 2014
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Walter Hooper has worked tirelessly for five decades to keep C. S Lewis's works in print, and with this volume he has added yet another important collection of essays and reviews to the Lewis canon. The title essay, never before published, is essential reading for all C. S. Lewis scholars, and the reviews are as winsome and candid as the Collected Letters that Mr. Hooper released a few years ago. This volume is a fitting tribute on the fiftieth anniversary of C. S. Lewis's death and the unveiling of the monument to Lewis in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Gave me an entirely new perspective of Lewis 16 May 2014
By M. Akers - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've mostly read Lewis' fiction and his religious works. As noted by others making comments this collection is of Lewis writing as a Oxford Don. I found it a fascinating glimpse into an entirely different side of him. I would recommend it for all Lewis fans -- but be prepared to do some "work".
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