C. S. Lewis,  Show Notes

Episode 21: An Experiment in Criticism, Ch. 5-7

Angelina and Cindy open today’s discussion of C. S. Lewis’ An Experiment in Criticism with a recap of the terms that Lewis defines in chapters 5-7, starting with myth. They talk about what it means to have an “extra-literary” experience and how to cultivate the proper attitude of a good reader. Next Cindy and Angelina dig into the definition and benefits of literary fantasy versus the dangers of morbid fantasy. They talk about our deep need for stories of “the other” and have experiences with people and places that are not the same as our own.

Another big topic of conversation is the idea of literature being escapist, particularly fantasy and fairy stories. Angelina and Cindy talk about several things related to this idea: belief and disbelief, fiction versus nonfiction, and the wonder of childhood. Cindy brings up Lewis’ comments on the comic and what relation that has to the current popularity of the graphic novel. Angelina also explains why we shouldn’t be looking to directly relate to a character in a novel in order to get something out of the book.

Listen to The Literary Life:

A Moment

by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

The clouds had made a crimson crown
Above the mountains high.
The stormy sun was going down
In a stormy sky.

Why did you let your eyes so rest on me,
And hold your breath between?
In all the ages this can never be
As if it had not been.

Book List:

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

Phantastes by George MacDonald

Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis

The Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

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