An Experiment in Criticism

[An Experiment in Criticism]
Year of publication: 
Moral assessment: 
Type: Thought
Nothing inappropriate.
Requires prior general knowledge of the subject.
Readers with knowledgeable about the subject matter.
Contains doctrinal errors of some importance.
Whilst not being explicitly against the faith, the general approach or its main points are ambiguous or opposed to the Church’s teachings.
Incompatible with Catholic doctrine.
Literary quality: 
Transmits values: 
Sexual content: 
Violent content: 
Vulgar or obscene language: 
Ideas that contradict Church teaching: 
The rating of the different categories comes from the opinion of Delibris' collaborators

Since its publication in 1961, this short essay on The Reading Experience has been reprinted so often that it has become a classic.

C. S. Lewis proposes an "experiment" that proceeds in the opposite way to what is usual in literary criticism: "to judge literature from how it is read", not from a classification between "good" and "bad" books, but between "good" and "bad" readers. The reading habits and the prejudices associated with them, the different ways of reading and the different satisfactions -certain or illusory, disinterested or selfish- that each one obtains from the experience, are subjected to an enthusiastic and heterodox analysis, which manages to expose with humor, amenity and brilliance, without the terminological obscurantism, the primordial idea that "whatever the value of literature is, it is only verified when there are good readers who read it". The reader to whom everything seems "slow", the reader who seeks "truths" about life, or the reader who reads only to increase his prestige are some of the models reviewed in this essay, essential for anyone who loves books and still novel and unique today.

Author: Manuel Martínez, Spain
Update on: Apr 2024