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An Experiment in Criticism (Canto Classics) Paperback – March 26, 2012
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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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.
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Top customer reviews
Even though Lewis separates readers into the unliterary and the literary, I don't think his main point is to condemn the reading habits of the masses. His main point is to clarify the nature of the literary experience. Lewis ends up criticizing the academic discipline of literary criticism rather sharply. In Lewis's view, these academic practices will harm the literary experience for the serious reader with their obsession over critical reading and the obligation to state a clever opinion.
However, this point does not become obvious until the second half of the book. He gradually builds up to it through a series of clever but deceptively simple ideas. If you would like a quick summary of Lewis's position on the literary experience, it may be worthwhile to turn to "Survey" (Chapter 9) first. Of course, I wholeheartedly recommend starting from the first chapter again.
Lewis performs a great service for those "who seek more in their reading" by clarifying the difference between the literary experience and the philosophical experience. One reads Dante not to derive a theology, but to experience what it feels like to be a theist. To me, this is the most valuable lesson of the book.