Selected Literary Essays (Canto Classics) Paperback – 7 Nov 2013
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'There is no essay by C. S. Lewis on any writer that does not provoke attention and inspire awe at his energy and clarity of mind.' Claude Rawson, Yale University
This volume includes over twenty of C. S. Lewis's most important literary essays, written between 1932 and 1962. Common to each essay is the lively wit, the distinctive forthrightness and the discreet erudition which characterizes Lewis's best critical writing.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To aid the reader, I've given the table of contents below, and if the work is available in another collection, I've noted it.
Table of Contents:
"De Descrptione Temporum" (1)
"The Alliterative Metre"
"What Chaucer Really Did to Il Filostrato"
"The Fifteenth Century Heroic Line"
"Hero and Leander"
"Variation in Shakespeare and Others"
"Hamlet: The Prince or the Poem" (1)
"Donne and Love Poetry in the Seventeenth Century"
"The Literary Impact of the Authorized Version" (1)
"The Vision of John Bunyan"
"A Note on Jane Austen"
"Shelley, Dryden, and Mr. Eliot"
"Sir Walter Scott" (1)
"Kipling's World" (1)
"Bluspels and Flananspheres: A Semantic Nightmare"
"High and Low Brows" (2), (3)
"Psycho Analysis and Literary Criticism" (1)
"The Anthropological Approach"
(1) also published in "They Asked for a Paper"
(2) also published in "Rehabilitations and Other Essays"
(3) also published in "Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces"
If you find this collection, buy it.
If you are interested in Lewis's literary criticism, you may also want to consider the following collections, both readily available:
"Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature"
"On Stories, and Other Essays"
Finally, if you are interested in Lewis's shorter works, you should also be interested in "Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces", which, as of the time of this writing, is available from Amazon UK but not Amazon US. That collection consists of about 130 short works by Lewis. The works in that collection are mostly, but not exclusively, Christian. Almost everything in "On Stories, and Other Essays" is included in that volume, but nothing from "Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature" and almost nothing from "Selected Literary Essays".
His writing voice and insight are so dependable I am almost content to make "Works C. S. Lewis Writes About That I Haven't Read" my personal reading list to last my lifetime. For one, it's hard to go wrong reading what Lewis felt worthy of an essay. For another, such a reader would get further into Lewis's thoughts when reading these essays. Not just to deepen one's brotherhood with him (and that's no small thing), but to fully benefit from his guidance.
There is a type of Lewis fan who might not like this book. If you don't care much for classic literature, but mainly hope to hear a good spiritual guide making broad stroke remarks about "bookish things," I would not recommend this book, especially at the out-of-print cost. You may as well attend the open heart operation of a Christian surgeon, for Lewis is hard at the technical parts of his work here. Certainly his faith is here in its delicate nuances, but I would say reading Mere Christianity or Screwtape over and over again would produce more of the fruit this reader wants. The person I'm really saying this to is myself from 15 years ago, but I can assume from reading other Lewis reviews that such a reader is still around!
Not to be missed, that is, if you can locate them. I personally wouldn't suggest paying the exorbitant prices that used-book sellers are currently demanding for copies of SLE. If nothing else, try Interlibrary Loan. Maybe in a few years prices will be reasonable.
As usual, Lewis speaks with philosophical incisiveness into topics whose earlier discussion had reflected only pre-digested conventional opinion.