C. S. L. on entertainment

If entertainment means light and playful pleasure, then I think it is exactly what we ought to get from some literary work – say, from a trifle by Prior or Martial. If it means those things which ‘grip’ the reader of popular romance – suspense, excitement and so forth – then I would say that every book should be entertaining. A good book will be more; it must not be less. Entertainment, in this sense, is like a qualifying examination. If a fiction can’t provide even that, we may be excused from inquiry into its higher qualities.

—C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

I am at the moment laid up with a bad case of viral bronchitis, so close to pneumonia that it took an X-ray for the attending physician to tell the difference. My essai in progress (and almost finished), on the inclusion of Mervyn Peake’s grotesque satires, Titus Groan and Gormenghast, in the fantasy genre, is therefore up on blocks in the yard, covered with a tarpaulin. It will have to wait until I am more lucid to finish it. Many other projects are also behind hand; I am too keenly aware of them for my own comfort. Meanwhile, I am trying to make some constructive use of my illness by re-reading some thought-provoking books, including the one quoted above – which my Beloved Other kindly found for me today, after I had long believed my copy lost.

I beg your kind indulgence for the delay.


  1. Rest up and feel better. We will keep.

  2. Bronchitis is definitely the worst. Especially the feeling of not getting enough oxygen and being tired all the time.

    Take care.

  3. Stephen J. says

    I will be extremely interested to read the essay on Gormenghast, as both you and John C. Wright are among my go-to people for illuminating insights on Christian-enlightened literary analysis, and Mr. Wright recently reviewed the work over on the Castalia House blog and concluded he thought it should not have been included. If your own conclusions are different I will be muchly fascinated to read the argument therefor. Rest assured, therefore, that however long it takes you to get back to that piece you will have an audience for it.

  4. Stephen K says

    Take your time and get well soon.

Speak Your Mind