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C. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy

ISBN13: 9780195374728
ISBN: 019537472X
Binding: Hardcover
List Price: $27.95
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Published Date:
Pages: 256
Average Goodreads rating: 4.33/5 (24 ratings)

Lewis' Space Trilogy-Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra & That Hideous Strength-was completed over 60 years ago & has remained in print ever since. Schwartz offers a reading that challenges the conventional view of them as portraying a clear-cut struggle between a pre-modern cosmology & the modern scientific paradigm that supplanted it. Schwartz situates Lewis' work in the context of modern intellectual, cultural & political history. He shows that Lewis doesn't simply dismiss the modern evolutionary model, but discriminates among different kinds of evolutionary theory-"mechanistic" in Out of the Silent Planet, "vitalist" in Perelandra, "spiritual" in That Hideous Strength-& their distinctive views of human nature, society & religion. He also shows that in each book the conflict between Xian & developmental viewpoints is more complex than generally assumed. In line with the Augustinian understanding that "bad things are good things perverted," Lewis constructs each of his three beatific communities-the "unfallen" worlds on Mars & Venus & the terrestrial remnant at St Anne's-not as the sheer antithesis but rather as the transfiguration or "raising up" of the particular evolutionary doctrine targeted in the novel. In this respect, Lewis is deeply engaged with the main currents of modern thought. He's also far more prepared to explore the possibilities for reshaping the evolutionary model in a manner compatible with traditional Xian doctrine & committed to addressing the distinctive concerns of modern existence. C.S. Lewis on the Final Frontier highlights the relevance of Lewis' fiction to contemporary concerns on a variety of issues, including the ethical problems surrounding biotech & the battle between religious & naturalistic worldviews. Far from offering a black & white contrast between old-fashioned Xian humanism & newfangled heresy, the Space Trilogy will be seen as a religious apologist's searching effort to enrich the former thru critical engagement with the latter.
Out of the silent planet
That hideous strength