• An Experiment in Criticism

  • By: C. S. Lewis
  • Narrated by: Richard Elwood
  • Length: 3 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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An Experiment in Criticism

By: C. S. Lewis
Narrated by: Richard Elwood
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Publisher's Summary

Why do we read literature and how do we judge it? C. S. Lewis' classic An Experiment in Criticism springs from the conviction that literature exists for the joy of the reader and that books should be judged by the kind of reading they invite. He argues that "good reading", like moral action or religious experience, involves surrender to the work in hand and a process of entering fully into the opinions of others: "in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself." Crucial to his notion of judging literature is a commitment to laying aside expectations and values extraneous to the work, in order to approach it with an open mind. Amid the complex welter of current critical theories, C. S. Lewis' wisdom is valuably down-to-earth, refreshing, and stimulating in the questions it raises about the experience of reading.

©1961 Cambridge University Press (P)2021 Upfront Books

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A Lively and Brilliant Book, Expertly Performed

A CSL book only latently or peripherally concerned with matters of faith.

With that out of the way, this is one of Lewis's clearest, brightest works, and it's a lot of fun. It's packed with so many insights about literature that you can feast on it even without completely agreeing with its main thesis.

Less dense than the newly released (at the time of this review) The Discarded Image, it is highly accessible to most any listener with a few footholds in CSL and/ or Literary Criticism. The prose is brisk and popping and the anectdotes and images cascade as swiftly as in Chesterton's witty books.

I slowed the reader down to 0.85 speed and settled into the performance very happily.

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insightful

I am considering a life of writing and this has helped me both gain a confidence and a caution for what I am getting myself into. Yes, it was meant for a time before videogames and the internet, BUT it still has those foundational thoughts and approaches that I wonder how anyone comes by besides being hounded by critics.