Micah Watson on C.S. Lewis
Date: November 17th, 2013

On the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’s death, we take a moment to review his life, times, and writings with Micah Watson, an associate professor of political philosophy at Union University in Jackson, TN.  Having just visited this fine school, Tony noticed that Prof. Watson was using a great deal of Lewis’s works for a class he was teaching.  Unfamiliar with many of those works, Tony invited Micah to join him on the podcast and talk about this epic author.

We begin with a general overview of Lewis’s life, growing up in Northern Ireland, his drift away from Christianity, his astounding brilliance in school, his time as a soldier during WWI, and then his gradual return to the Christian faith.  In somewhat of a non-synchronous fashion, we flitter in-and-out of his time at both Oxford and Cambridge, mixing intellectually with the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and Owen Barfield.  We then develop the intellectual themes of his writing, both fiction and nonfiction.  We learn about the wide range of genres and styles of writing that he undertakes, including everything from apologetics to science fiction to children’s books and poetry.  His broad repertoire — including radio broadcasts — earned him some cautionary disrespect from his intellectual colleagues, but also allowed him to reach audiences that he may not have had access to otherwise.

Prof. Watson walks us through some of Lewis’s works, including The Space Trilogy, and how he developed his immaginative thoughts.  We learn how Lewis uses imagery and narrative to circumvent the “watchful dragons” of more orthodox Christianity.  Prof. Watson considers Lewis’s ability to speak in the vernacular to a non-academic audience one of the main reason why he remains so popular today.  He also notes that following a debate with G.E.M. Anscombe, Lewis stops writing pure apologetics and weaves his defense of Christianity into a more nonfiction narrative style.  Given Micah’s own interest in political theory, we also talk about natural law and Lewis’s political views, which were never strongly stated but were nonetheless present in his scholarship.

The interview ends with Micah’s reflections on how Lewis has influenced our contemporary intellectual landscape and his own personal development as well.  Recorded: November 11, 2013.


Micah Watson’s biography at Union University.

The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis, by Alan Jacobs (mentioned on the podcast).


Corey Olsen on J.R.R. Tolkien, Religion, and The Hobbit.

Jason Jewell on Why Christians Should Read the “Great Books.”


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