Of This and Other Worlds

Amazon linkI came across this collection of Lewis’ essays and decided to give it a go for curiosity’s sake — mostly because it’s outside my usual area of reading. Some parts were more engaging than others: for example, the first essay, On Stories, spent an awfully long time making the (perfectly valid) point that some stories focus very much on stirring up the feeling of excitement, at times to the detriment of plot and character development. As a reader, it felt that the essay was almost finished before he began to make other substantial points.

Although it was engaging in places — for example, a lovely discussion of how we read, and how our reading changes with time — my main impression by the end was that he seemed rather over-enamoured with Literature with a capital L (perhaps even coming over as a little pompous): he seemed to be saying that pleasures which require education must be better than simple, more ‘base’ pleasures (for example, Bach must automatically be better than pop music). Now I for one enjoy a good bit of Bach, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically better than all pop music, or that I am in some way morally superior to people who prefer to listen to cheese (which sometimes, I will prefer!).

To be fair to Lewis, these things have to be taken in their own context: much (all?) of the material in question was written in the first half of the 20th century, and of course, the past is a different country.

In summary, the downside of this book was that I found parts of it slow and, at times, disagreeable. On the plus side, there are some interesting pieces in there, and it certainly prompted thought!

(Available on Amazon.)

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