An Experiment in Criticism (Canto Classics) Paperback – 29 Mar 2012
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'Lewis is at one and the same time provocative, tactful, biased, open-minded, old-fashioned, far-seeing, very annoying and very wise.' Church Times
'This genuinely provocative little book … Professor Lewis makes the best case against evaluative criticism that I have read.' David Daiches, New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Amid the complex welter of current critical theories, C. S. Lewis's wisdom is valuably down-to-earth, refreshing and stimulating in the questions it raises about the experience of reading.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm a Christian, and I believe the single most important priority is to lead people to the knowledge and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can do such through art. However, anything that Lewis wrote that lead someone to Jesus is, of course, more important than this book in that respect. Jesus comes first, art comes underneath that in priority, as do all things. That being said:
AN EXPERIMENT IN CRITICISM is the single most important work C. S. Lewis has produced when it comes to literature and the arts. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, the SPACE TRILOGY, and TILL WE HAVE FACES are literature, but this overwhelms them all - not because of what it is (a universal principle that can be applied to art), but because of what it is not (a story or work of art that not everyone will have the same taste for). People may or may not like his fiction (although I find it rare to meet a person who doesn't like NARNIA) - but this book anyone can appreciate, especially those interested in literature in specific and art in general (for, although it concerns itself primarily with literature, this book also stands in defense of drama, music, painting, and the artistic endeavours of humankind in general). Because there are differing tastes in terms of fiction, people who will not read Lewis's own literature will (or should) read this.Read more ›
The questions he asks, "What do we mean when we say a book is good or bad?" "How do we judge between literature of quality and mere drivel?" And how he answers them by looking at the different ways people read books sheds helpful light on the way we think and talk about books. I could rave and rave about this book, but I won't. I'll just leave it at that and say, if you have an interest in books, and if you're reading this I'll assume you do, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It's wonderful.
So, for Lewis, there is a quasi spiritual aspect to reading. For Lewis, the person who is only interested in what happened is unlikely to be a good reader. The value of this book lies not therefore in the coherence of its message (its not entirely clear to me) but rather in a number of highly perceptive statements scattered throughout the work such as:
"Those who read great works, on the other hand, will read the same work ten, twenty or thirty times during the course of their life". This statement surprised me - yes I have read some books 2 or 3 times but this number?Read more ›