By C. S. Lewis
Why will we learn literature and the way will we pass judgement on it? C. S. Lewis's classic An test in Criticism springs from the conviction that literature exists for the enjoyment of the reader and that books can be judged by means of the type of interpreting they invite. He argues that "good reading," like ethical motion or non secular adventure, consists of hand over to the paintings in hand and a means of coming into totally into the evaluations of others: "in examining nice literature I turn into one thousand males and but stay myself."
Crucial to his idea of judging literature is a dedication to pushing aside expectancies and values extraneous to the paintings, so as to procedure it with an open brain. Amid the complicated welter of present severe theories, C. S. Lewis's knowledge is valuably down-to-earth, fresh and stimulating within the questions it increases concerning the event of studying.
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Extra info for An Experiment in Criticism
The Stock-Broker’s Clerk” (YBQ, 215) “Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. ” —“The Sign of the Four” (YBQ, 214) The method, once grasped, should be “simplicity itself ”—should seem “commonplace” and “elementary” as other famous aphorisms from the Holmes stories have it—because all exact sciences presumably rely on laws as simple as Newton’s and on theorems as indubitable as Euclid’s. Some day everyone will be a Holmes, just as schoolboys now can solve problems in physics that would have baffled Aristotle and Copernicus.
We know in advance that the detective will find the criminal; the suspense pertains to how. As readers try to anticipate his answer, the story tests their own mastery of the method. Unlike apothegms and tragedies, detective stories presume that a rational method exists. The genre believes in social science. It embodies the same set of assumptions that have led so many thinkers since the seventeenth century 2 6 A p o t h e g m s to assume that what Newton accomplished in astronomy will soon be accomplished with human beings.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 13 Each of these comments expresses supreme confidence in a truth long sought and now attained. Dicta appear particularly frequently in eras imagining they have dispelled darkness (the seventeenth-century rationalists) and in disciplines claiming to have at last achieved scientific status (the social sciences). Apothegms induce wonder at a world of mystery, while dicta presume to decipher the text of nature or society. What long appeared dauntingly complex has turned out to be quite simple; what seemed cloudy or labyrinthine proved clear and straight.