"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.