In this episode, I speak with Michael Ward about his book, After Humanity: A Guide to C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man. I think The Abolition of Man is of the most important books in the twentieth century. It addresses important issues that are relevant today — from what it means to be human, reason, passion, and the emotions, to how to think about technology, power, and beauty. It’s a short book but can be a bit difficult to understand at times, and Michael Ward does a great service by going through the book line by line and explaining and providing context to make the book easier to follow.
We discuss key themes of The Abolition of Man:
whether beauty and morality are objective or purely subjective education power and authority honor nobility sacrifice for others, dystopian fiction technology and technocracy contraception and how man’s power over nature ends up being man’s power over other men We also discuss the relationship between the Abolition of Man, Eustace Scrubb, and Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and the space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.
Word on Fire Special Offer: After Humanity + Abolition of Man
Michael Ward is an English literary critic and theologian. He works at the University of Oxford where he is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion. He is the author of the award-winning Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (Oxford University Press) and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press).
Though based at Oxford in his native England, Dr Ward is also employed as Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, Texas, teaching one course per semester as part of the online MA program in Christian Apologetics.
On the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis’s death (22 November 2013), Professor Ward unveiled a permanent national memorial to him in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. He is the co-editor of a volume of commemorative essays marking the anniversary, entitled C.S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner.
Michael Ward presented the BBC television documentary, The Narnia Code, directed and produced by BAFTA-winning filmmaker, Norman Stone. He authored an accompanying book entitled The Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens.
Michael was resident Warden of The Kilns, Lewis’s Oxford home, from 1996 to 1999. He studied English at Oxford, Theology at Cambridge, and has a Ph.D. in Divinity from St Andrews. He was Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford (2012-2021). He has been awarded honorary doctorates in Humane Letters (Hillsdale College, Michigan, 2015) and Sacred Theology (Thorneloe University, Ontario, 2021).
Visit https://www.themoralimagination.com/episodes/ward for show notes and resources.