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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.

Author Bio

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent PlanetThe Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classic Mere Christianity.

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This title is also included as a part of the following collection

  1. The C.S. Lewis Collection (30 vols.)