The Abolition of Man in dystopian literature

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This thesis argues that two important works of dystopian fiction, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, can be read through the lens of C. S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man. In this book, Lewis writes of an intellectual trend which he labels Subjectivism, and which he believes is engaged in undermining humanity as we understand it. Lewis sees an example of this trend in a schoolbook on English writing, which he calls the Green Book (The Control of Language: A Critical Approach to Reading and Writing, by Alex King and Martin Ketley), and uses a criticism of this book as a departure point for a criticism of the whole philosophy of Subjectivism. I believe that Bradbury and Huxley are concerned with some of the same contemporary intellectual and moral trends as was Lewis, and, like him, feared the advent of a broken humanity. I will also be bringing Nietzschean philosophy to bear on this examination, for to really understand what Lewis means by the Abolition of Man, one should understand the ideas he is arguing against. To understand them, one should understand their origins, and the best way to do this is to go back to Nietzsche. Using The Abolition of Man as its central text, this thesis will work backwards to establish the argument between Lewis and Nietzsche, and will then analyze the philosophical ideas of both at play in the worlds of Bradbury and Huxley’s novels.(Author abstract)