08 October 2012

For Book Reviewers

C. S. Lewis, writing to Dorothy Sayers, Nov. 21, 1949:

Dear Miss Sayers,
I did really like Mr. Kuhn's book, but does that qualify one for pronouncing on it in public? How can one praise a man's exposition of a subject when one's own knowledge of that subject is derived almost wholly from him? A pupil cannot be an independent judge of his master's knowledge. No doubt this is often ignored by critics. (I have read reviews of my own academic works which would sound very learned and judicious to the general reader but in which I could see that the reviewer's knowledge of the subject was derived wholly from me.)
--The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. 2 (HarperCollins, 2004), 999

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