An Experiment in Criticism

by C.S. Lewis
152 pages, Biography/History
Reviewed by Jeanne

A good critique of literary criticism.


An essay by C.S. Lewis on the critique of literature, what it is, and how one ought to go about it. In it he explores the difference between the literary reader and the unliterary reader, and proposes that the difference between "good" works and "bad" works has more to do with how and why they are read than their style.


Lewis discusses such things as "castle-building" and the worth of reading purely to gratify oneself by envisioning the events of the novel happening to you. In general, however, morality does not factor into this essay.

Spiritual Content

Lewis discusses myths and mythical-qualities of stories.



Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content

Pornography is mentioned as an example of unliterary reading. There are a couple other such illustrations in regard to reading as "castle-building."

Crude or Profane Language or Content



Lewis critiques the concept of criticism adroitly in this short essay. He goes beyond the usual trifling complaints about writing style and the comparisons of various classic writers and encourages the reader to think about the manner of his or her reading, rather than basing an opinion of current trends. His distinctions between literary and unliterary reading are thought-provoking, and while one may not agree with them completely, they are well worth considering.

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: adult

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