Analysis Of C. S. Lewis's An Experiment In Criticism

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Why do we read literature and how do we judge it? In C. S Lewis 's classic book An Experiment in Criticism comes from the conviction that literature exists for the elation of the reader and that a book shall not be judged by the reading but by whom the reader is. Lewis argues, to distinguish between a good book and a bad, we must therefore not refer to how the book is written but by how it is read. Throughout the book, Lewis discuss’ his theories about why that is true, starting by separating the readers into two groups, one the “literary” and the other the “unliterary”. He processes by outlining a few of the differences between the two types of readers. The book then goes forward by defining what good literature is “But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself” (Lewis, 141). By this he states that to fully grasp a work as a whole, you must surrender to the work, and analyses it from every angle. Lewis leads the reader to think about how a person reads a book and why they read. With his love and appreciation towards literature, Lewis addresses the argument of what constitutes a good book and bad book. He proposes that books are assessed by how they are ought to be read. Another argument that Lewis is trying to portray in the study of …show more content…
Lewis respected that this book was trying to persuade the reader that you could interpret literature by the way it is read rather than it’s content. He added his opinion into the literary text but did not try to manipulate and corrupt the reader. He allows the “text to speak for itself”, whereas some critics usually simulate their opinion in their literary work. Lewis’ book provides great wisdom on how literature should be approached; it is “an eye-opener”. Rather than being an unliterary reader who wants details of the story without the art of the telling, you can experience the fullness of art through Lewis’

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