After Humanity: A Guide to C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man
By Michael Ward
$24.95$24.95


Get Abolition of Man (a $14.95 value!) for FREE when you purchase After Humanity!

 

After Humanity is a guide to one of C.S. Lewis’s most widely admired but least accessible works, The Abolition of Man, which originated as a series of lectures on ethics that he delivered during the Second World War.

These lectures tackle the thorny question of whether moral value is objective or not. When we say something is right or wrong, are we recognizing a reality outside ourselves, or merely reporting a subjective sentiment? Lewis addresses the matter from a purely philosophical standpoint, leaving theological matters to one side. He makes a powerful case against subjectivism, issuing an intellectual warning that, in our “post-truth” twenty-first century, has even more relevance than when he originally presented it.

Lewis characterized The Abolition of Man as “almost my favourite among my books,” and his biographer Walter Hooper has called it “an all but indispensable introduction to the entire corpus of Lewisiana.” In After Humanity, Michael Ward sheds much-needed light on this important but difficult work, explaining both its general academic context and the particular circumstances in Lewis’s life that helped give rise to it, including his front-line service in the trenches of the First World War.

After Humanity contains a detailed commentary clarifying the many allusions and quotations scattered throughout Lewis’s argument. It shows how this resolutely philosophical thesis fits in with his other, more explicitly Christian works. It also includes a full-color photo gallery, displaying images of people, places, and documents that relate to The Abolition of Man, among them Lewis’s original “blurb” for the book, which has never before been published.

Author: Michael Ward
ISBN: 978-1-943243-77-8
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 253
Publisher: Word on Fire Academic
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Language: English
Release Date: 2021-06-23

Contents

Acknowledgements


Chapter 1 - Reception

Chapter 2 - Occasion and Context

Chapter 3 - Overview

Chapter 4 - A Religious Work?

Chapter 5 - Background

Chapter 6 - Legacy

Chapter 7 - Commentary and Gloss

  • 1) Men Without Chests
  • 2) The Way
  • 3) The Abolition of Man
  • Appendix

Chapter 8 - Conclusion

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
EPIGRAPH

C.S.Lewis’s analysis of the anti-human trend of modern Western culture has perhaps even more and sharper pertinence now than when it was written. In this vigorous and widely researched book, one of our leading Lewis scholars helps us see this analysis in its full intellectual context, and confirms beyond doubt Lewis’s stature as a genuine public intellectual for our own day as well as his.

— Rowan Williams

Former Archbishop of Canterbury

A fascinating, invaluable guide, going deep and wide to convey the thought of The Abolition of Man and the world of its author.

— John Finnis

Emeritus Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School 

Michael Ward’s thorough commentary will long remain the essential companion to The Abolition of Man. His exegesis and analysis, including his own insights and the best from other commentators, show how Lewis’s classic still speaks to questions of finding moral principles in our ‘post-truth’ era.

— George Marsden

author of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography

Michael Ward brilliantly illuminates one of C.S. Lewis’s most important books, but also one of his most challenging. With thorough research and readable prose, Ward explains the cultural context out of which The Abolition of Man arose, elucidating the philosophical issues involved and demonstrating the ongoing relevance of Lewis’s ideas. Ward also offers page-by-page annotations of all those erudite phrases and allusions that many readers find daunting. Both Lewis specialists and general readers will find much here to enrich their understanding of Lewis the philosopher and Lewis the culture critic.

— David C. Downing 

Co-Director, Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College

Some brilliant books are clear in themselves, but dreadfully obscure to most contemporary readers. C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man is that sort of brilliant book, and Michael Ward has done an enormous service to future generations of teachers, students, and other readers in making what is so extraordinary and important in Lewis’s argument completely transparent.

— J. Budziszewski

Professor of Government and Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin, author of Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics

Lewis’s Abolition is an essential guide for understanding the great debates about morality and human nature, and Michael Ward is our essential guide for understanding Lewis. One great virtue of this volume is not needing to choose between the brilliance of Lewis himself and invaluable secondary material. Ward provides the latter in expert fashion, offering the contextual scaffolding for Lewis’s argument with an introduction, explanatory footnotes, brilliant pictures and photographs, and pages of incisive commentary. Lewis veterans and newcomers alike will find this edition invaluable.

—Micah J. Watson

Associate Professor of Political Science, Calvin University

Detailed, meticulous research and scholarship has made this the definitive book on The Abolition of Man. This book is to The Abolition of Man what Michael Ward's Planet Narnia is to the Chronicles of Narnia. The book could have been deservedly entitled ‘Everything You Could Possibly Have Wanted to Know About The Abolition of Man.

—Peter Kreeft

Professor of Philosophy, Boston College, author of C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium: Six Essays on The Abolition of Man

C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man is one of the most trenchant and prophetic writings of the twentieth century; Michael Ward is perhaps the leading scholar of Lewis and one of the most perceptive and thoughtful critics of his oeuvre. This splendid book will furnish an indispensable guide to the thought of C.S. Lewis.

—Douglas Hedley

Professor of the Philosophy of Religion, University of Cambridge, author of Coleridge, Philosophy and Religion

Michael Ward’s After Humanity is a rich feast indeed. I can’t imagine a more thorough, perceptive, and credible introduction to and contextualization of C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man. It offers at once an engaging read and a detailed work of reference to which I shall return again and again. Above all, Ward’s lightly-worn but prodigious learning offers a powerful case for the importance of the Abolition both for Lewis’s own oeuvre and also—in our present “post-truth” turmoil—for what remain the vital issues of moral philosophy. After Humanity is a sterling and significant piece of intellectual history.

—Dennis Danielson

Professor Emeritus of English, University of British Columbia (Vancouver), author of The Tao of Right and Wrong: Rediscovering Humanity’s Moral Foundations

In After Humanity, Michael Ward reminds us that Lewis was a philosopher, gifted in asking the most important questions about the cosmos and our place within it. In exploring Lewis’s philosophical anthropology, Ward is lucid in every sense of the word. He writes in a manner as clear and accessible as it is illuminating. After Humanity deserves (and will reward) a readership as diverse and dedicated as Lewis’s own.

—Rebekah Lamb

Lecturer in Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, University of St Andrews, author of “'Out of the Shadows': C.S. Lewis on Education” in The Chronicles of Narnia: A Spiritual Journey

Excellent . . . helpful . . . useful . . . learned . . . One of the great strengths of Ward’s commentary is that, although focused on the text of The Abolition of Man, it shows how the themes of that book appear in various ways throughout Lewis’s work . . . Ward is a master at seeing these connections.

—Gilbert Meilaender 

First Things

Michael Ward, whose pre-eminence as a Lewis scholar has been firmly established since the publication of Planet Narnia, has produced an invaluable guide . . . Whether one is encountering The Abolition of Man for the first or tenth time, the insight and guidance that Ward provides in After Humanity make it indispensable for serious study.

Christianity and Literature

Just as Planet Narnia provides a tour de force of the significance of medieval cosmology to nearly all of Lewis’s major works (and not a few minor ones as well), so After Humanity reveals the relevance of Abolition’s key ideas to a plethora of Lewis’s other books, addresses, debates, and sundry professional activities . . . I have been reading Abolition for nearer thirty years than twenty and, lucid though it is, reading Abolition is best served by keeping entire humanities curricula at the forefront of one’s brain. But if you can’t do that (God knows I can’t), then keeping After Humanity close to hand will do instead.

An Unexpected Journal

Well-wrought...welcome...timely...lucid...Michael Ward has done it again.

Journal of Inklings Studies

“The Abolition of Man...has the deserved reputation of being difficult, especially for today’s readers who may be unfamiliar with the many literary and cultural allusions it contains... Michael Ward has come to the rescue... After Humanity, is what we’ve been waiting for...an annotated, almost-word-by-word explication of the book Lewis himself counted as a favorite of his own works.”

National Catholic Register

Bringing clarity and light to Abolition’s internal structure and its historical, literary, and philosophical context is the achievement of Michael Ward in his new book After Humanity ...Ward has a good claim to be the world’s leading authority on Lewis’s fiction and non-fictional writings...He has produced an immersion into Abolition that will benefit all readers, including those who disagree with Lewis’s specific arguments or who are skeptical of natural law philosophy in general.

Law and Liberty

In his new book, Michael Ward demonstrates the validity of his reputation as a pre-eminent guide to Lewis, with a nimble combination of deep scholarship, bright prose, and a deep respect for Lewis that never falls into undue adulation or unquestioning blindness.

The Imaginative Conservative

Ward takes us through Lewis’s wartime work with fine precision, demonstrating an

encyclopaedic knowledge of both the background to his thought, and the context in which it was delivered as a series of three lectures...Scholarly and very well referenced...speaks to our current context in a fresh and radical way...I highly recommend this book.

The Portal: The Monthly Review of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Philosophy is commonly perceived as a difficult discipline reserved for bobble-head academics and residents of ivory towers. If readers want a theologically themed popular version of Abolition, they would be wise to read the first three or four chapters of Lewis’s Mere Christianity. If readers forgo their apprehensions about philosophy, accept that Abolition is a difficult read in comparison, and pursue wisdom with a contemporary and knowledgeable guide, they may surprise themselves at what they discover. Ward acts as teacher to the curious student in this much needed and long overdue companion to C.S.Lewis.

The University of Bookman

After Humanity is the definitive companion, commentary and introduction to C.S.

Lewis’s The Abolition of Man...Nobody is better equipped than Ward to unpick the intellectual, ethical and spiritual odyssey which underlies Lewis’s diagnosis...Raise a toast to the deserved success of After Humanity, and to Michael’s growing reputation as the foremost Lewis scholar of his generation.

Thinking Faith