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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Monday, 19 January 2009

An Experiment in Criticism

I finally found the book that I thought had notes on the Lewis essay and see that I didn't manage to get my head around it - this won't be much of a review of the book. It's more a record of my early studies. Partly because I had no money at the time, I got all my books out of the library so I don't have a copy of this, which is a shame, because it's an interesting read with a lot for an author to think about. (I still get text books out of the library because then I'll read them and make notes and get them back on time. Those text books I own tend to sit on the bookshelf waiting for me to have time to read them.)

From memory then, I think this book suggests that instead of trying to categorise books by their literary merit as good or bad, you look at how people read them, and instead categorise the types of reading into 'good' or 'bad', and thinking this way, leads you into an exploration of what happens as people read. Lewis talks about readers who simply 'use' books as a method of finding what they expect to find there - which covers most of the literary criticism that we did on the degree course - as opposed to those who cross the frontier into the new experience that's in a good book. If only wolves could write books, he says. Imagine!

Lewis relates how astonished he was when a student 'a very intelligent post graduate' said that he read simply for the experience. They were discussing Last of the Mohicans, and the thrill of the chase. Lewis said that he'd assumed everyone preferred the vivid wonderfulness of a good book, but no, his student said that too much literary stuff could detract from the pleasure of the chase. All he wanted to do was mainline the emotional experience, and this is difference I was thinking of re the last post.

I'd need to get the book again to be sure though, because I haven't taken notes. I tried - there's a couple of pages, but rather than being my notes I've ended up copying out complete sentences - Lewis is too erudite for me to be able to paraphrase or mind map at that time, and it looks as if I realised it and gave up. I wonder if I could do it now?

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