Review of C.S. Lewis: An Apologist for Education
by, April Branch
C.S. Lewis: An Apologist for Education, written by Louis Markos, PhD, is a wonderful little gem included in the Giants in the History of Education series published by Classical Academic Press. Markos’ writing style is both concise and coherent so that the reader is invited to simply journey through pertinent tidbits about Lewis’ life, admire his major achievements, and “carry on his [pedagogical] legacy”. Appropriately, Markos outlines his purposes in the introduction and guides the reader with a clear focus through each of the three chapters while sprinkling references to Lewis’ great works along the way.
As Markos explains, Chapter One, is a “mini-biography” of Lewis’s life and major influences “that shaped him into a great and influential educator.” From early childhood tragedy that influenced Lewis’ Surprised by Joy to adolescent torment in boarding school that influenced Lewis’ fantasy and science fiction writings, the reader is able to glean a personable perspective about Clive Staples Lewis. Markos also unveils how the experiences of Lewis’ adulthood, such as war, friendships, academics, teaching, somewhat unorthodox lifestyle, and eventually marriage, all shaped his religious beliefs as well as his later academic and Christian writings.
Chapter Two continues the journey through Lewis’s life as an educator, not merely a proponent of classical education, but also, along with J.R.R. Tolkien, a dedicated defender of the study of “ancient languages” and “canonical texts”. Here the reader learns about Lewis, the bold debater and humble critic, who argued that each work of art, specifically poetry, has an essence and complexity that cannot be reduced solely to “emotional” subjectivity. Further, Markos discusses Lewis views regarding a modern, “envy and egalitarian-driven educational system.” The chapter finishes up with homage to Lewis’ famous Abolition of Man and his passion for good reading of great literature.
Lastly, Markos closes his book with an impassioned appeal for “educators, particularly, but not exclusively, Christian educators” to remember Lewis as a hero in the fight against “chronological snobbery” and to continue championing Lewis’ ideals about education. As emphasis, he compares Lewis to another influential Christian writer and apologist, Francis Schaeffer. The reader is left with a final vision of what a true Christian, classical education would look like in the spirit of Clive Staples Lewis.
You can purchase a copy of C.S. Lewis: An Apologist for Education from the Classical Academic Press website.
Author Bio: April Branch resides in North Carolina with her husband and 4 children. In addition to homeschooling her own children, April teaches a variety of classical classes in and around the local classical homeschool community.