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On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature [Kindle Edition]

C. S. Lewis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The theme of this collection is the excellence of the Story, especially the kind of story dear to Lewis-fantasy and science fiction, which he fostered in an age dominated by realistic fiction. On Stories is a companion volume to Lewis’s collected shorter fiction, The Dark Tower and Other Stories. Edited and with a Preface by Walter Hooper.

Editorial Reviews


"Though shorter than Haruki Murakami's South of the Border, West of the Sun, it is a more expansive work, delving into frightening territory....Smoothly translated by James Westerhoven, Okuizumi's prose is full of glassy surfaces that tilt to reach vertigo-inducing depths.-Los Angeles Times

"This eloquent, sorrowful, marvelously translated novel is a meditation on the ravages of war, the persistence of violence on the human soul and incredible bravery."-The Washington Post

About the Author

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. A Fellow and tutor at Oxford until 1954, he spent the rest of his career as Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly, inlcuding The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Mere Christianity and Surprised by Joy.

Product Details

  • File Size: 511 KB
  • Print Length: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 28, 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004H1U22O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
99 of 102 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Popular Literary Criticism September 4, 2001
Lewis's shorter works were generally originally composed as speeches or as articles for periodicals. Various sets of them were collected and published in book form both during his life and after his death. Trying to determine what works are in what collections is difficult - most works appear in more than one collection, some works appear under more than one title, and some collections appear under more than one title.
To aid readers, in this review I've listed the works in this collection, with notes indicating other collections they have appeared in. Where a work has appeared under more than one title, I give both titles separated by a slash.
Table of Contents:
"On Stories" / "The Kappa Element in Romance" (1), (2)
"The Novels of Charles Williams" (2)
"A Tribute to E. R. Eddison" (2)
"On Three Ways of Writing for Children" (1), (2)
"Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to be Said" (1), (2)
"On Juvenile Tastes" (1), (2)
"It All Began with a Picture ..." (1), (2)
"On Science Fiction" (1), (2)
"A Reply to Professor Haldane" (1)
"The Hobbit" (2)
"Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'" / "The Gods Return to Earth" & "The Dethronement of Power" (2)
"A Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers" (2)
"The Mythopoeic Gift of Rider Haggard" / "Haggard Rides Again" (2)
"George Orwell" (2)
"The Death of Words" (2)
"The Parthenon and the Optative" (2)
"Period Criticism" (2)
"Different Tastes in Literature" (2)
"On Criticism" (1), (2)
"Unreal Estates" / "The establishment must die and rot ...
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine discussion of stories June 22, 1998
As a voracious reader and prodigious author, C.S. Lewis had lots of views to air on the art of telling stories. Twenty pieces he wrote through the years are here collected in a compendium that ranges over a wide array of topics. The titles give a good idea of the sorts of things you'll find in this book: The Novels of Charles Williams, On Three Ways of Writing for Children, Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said, A Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, The Mythopoeic Gift of Rider Haggard, and Different Tastes in Literature are some of the things that Lewis discourses about with verve and understanding. This is fine reading for those who love enlightening commentary about what comprises good fiction.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, readable literary criticism October 26, 2003
This collection primarily contains Lewis' essays and reviews concerning
fantasy and science fiction stories. Many of the essays contained in this volume originally appeared in the magazine
Time and Tide, while others appeared in a variety of regional magazines. The nineteen essays cover such topics as
fairy stories, juvenile fiction, period criticism, and science fiction, plus the writers E. R. Eddison, H. Rider Haggard,
Dorothy Sayers, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams.
The title essay sets the tone for the bulk of the essays in this volume.
Lewis takes issue with the critics who downplay the genre of Romance and instead
prefer realism and character development in their novels. While excitement
is important in this genre, Lewis notes that elements such as atmosphere,
ideas and imagery are equally important or more so. Lewis argues these other elements
are what cause people to re-read the classic Romances; the initial excitement is gone, but the
other facets of the story provide opportunities for discovery and wonderment for the reader.
His reviews of the writers mentioned above, while glowingly positive and supportive, are balanced
in that he also notes their shortcomings. For example, while he praises Haggard for being a
mythopoetic storyteller, he notes the man could not or would not write, and worse yet, he tried
to philosophize. With Tolkien, he saw problems in the opening chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, and
notes how all the characters can be split between good and evil.
In other essays Lewis lays out rules he feels reviewers should follow. One of the most
important Lewis argues is that the reviewer must like the subject he is reviewing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next Best Thing April 16, 2005
"On Stories" is a collection of essays that C.S. Lewis wrote regarding the very topic he knew most about - literature. His title essay sets the ground for the ones that follow, as he lays bare everything from fairy tales to criticism. Included are reviews and appraisals of the works of his pals and fellow Inklings Dorothy L. Sayers and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as reviews of other writers and the writing of juvenile stories.

This collection is cohesive and well-laid out. Although, if read all at once, one is bound to encounter Lewis repeating himself (due to the fact that these essays are taken from a span of time). His arguments are well thought and cogently written, as usual. He takes umbrage in several essays, but always tells 'why' he feels that way. He is adoring in his praise for works he loves, and critical of works that he believes to have failed. His essay on George Orwell is fascinating - Lewis believes "Animal Farm" superior than "1984" and is somewhat flabbergasted by the latter's success.

Reading C.S. Lewis' thoughts on literature, I believe, is the next best thing to having had him as a professor of literature. One can only imagine what it must have been like to be a student of this thoroughly intelligent and well-read man - many of his students must have been intimidated. Yet the reader is given the opportunity to see the ligther side of Lewis in the final piece entitled 'Unreal Estates', a recorded conversation between Lewis, Kingsley Amis, and Brian Aldiss, that is filled with the author's incomparable humor. Having grown up on Lewis' stories, it was wonderful to read his thoughts (and the pictures that sparked those thoughts) behind them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great book. Essays still relevant.
Published 2 months ago by Josiah Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent collection of Lewis' s writing and critical concerns.
Published 6 months ago by opops00
5.0 out of 5 stars Nuggets of Gold
It's CS Lewis... My library is full of Lewis books... I've never read a bad one. These are nuggets of gold in setting of silver.
Published 6 months ago by Tony Foglio
4.0 out of 5 stars mostly relating to fantastic literature, all related to literature
A collection of essays, some incomplete, and other materials by C. S. Lewis, mostly relating to fantastic literature, all related to literature, including a recorded conversation... Read more
Published 7 months ago by hathach3
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Lewis
If you love Lewis from his bold, clear points to his charming good nature you'll enjoy this book. Especially the last part is a treat.
Published 8 months ago by Tracy
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into Story from an Excellent Writer
This collection of essays is not for everyone, but if you are looking to understand story better, I would highly recommend you read it. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Jason Custer
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise for Lewis!
C.S. Lewis's On Stories is one of the most insightful little books I've ever read on literature. His "Fairy Stories" is worth the price of the book. Read more
Published on February 17, 2013 by Joshua D. Yoder
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable for Both Readers and Writers
Unlike other Walter Hopper edited anthologies of C. S. Lewis works, "On Stories" is a coherent whole. C. S. Read more
Published on February 17, 2008 by R. Andrea
4.0 out of 5 stars Bits of brilliance, but still bits
These essay collection books are a mixed bag. On Stories is a wonderful and stimulating collection for all interested in the nature of human stories, especially as they are told as... Read more
Published on January 26, 2008 by Nicola Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars Lewis on Literiture
Most people see Lewis as a fantasy writer, or a Christina apologist. We forget, however, that his "bill paying" job was an English Literature professor at Oxford and Cambridge. Read more
Published on September 1, 2003 by Kendal B. Hunter
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