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  • The Abolition of Man & The Great Divorce

  • Written by: C. S. Lewis
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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The Abolition of Man & The Great Divorce

Written by: C. S. Lewis
Narrated by: Simon Vance
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Publisher's Summary

Have we been taught to discount the veracity and deeper meaning of our emotional resonance with the world around us? In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis looks at the curriculum of the English "prep school" and begins to wonder if this subliminal teaching has indeed produced a generation who discount such a nature.

In The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis's classic vision of the Afterworld, the narrator boards a bus on a drizzly English afternoon and embarks on an incredible voyage through Heaven and Hell. He meets a host of supernatural beings far removed from his expectations, and comes to some significant realizations about the nature of good and evil.

©1945 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the critics say

"These two short works by Lewis are a fine introduction to his eloquent writing, as well as his thought....Robert Whitfield's disciplined and well-modulated voice has an appealingly confident quality." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Abolition of Man & The Great Divorce

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  • Ezd
  • 2021-06-22

Fantasy and intellectual intrigue:)

Fantastic listen! The great divorce tickled the fancy of imagination, whilst creating propositions made by humanity with uncanny familiarity. The abolition of man, stretched my cognitive processes in ways unembarked upon heretofore, raising questions for my reason to grapple and consider! Wonderful, the both of them!

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A very interesting perspective

Enjoyed listening to these books. Most impressed by CS Lewis ideas on heaven and hell. Definitely will be going through it again.

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    5 out of 5 stars

The narrator is an excellent voice actor.

It was a pleasure to hear and easy to follow the ideas and thoughts of Lewis.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Still a great primice

I had to read these books in high school and at the time I really didn't appreciate them. Now I do and will listen to the Great Divorce over and over again

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph
  • 2005-05-16

Two great (but quite different) gems from CSL

"The Great Divorce" is an unfortunate title for our modern ears. It is a Dante-esque fantasy about a man's journey to Purgatory and/or Hell and then to the beginnings of Heaven. The title comes as a counter to the mistaken assertion that there is a possiblity of the marriage of Heaven and Hell. The narrator meets with several types of sinner and witnesses their encounters with angelic beings who give them every chance and encouragement to enter into heaven. Lewis (who is the narrator it would seem) meets up with his spiritual mentor (George MacDonald) and converses with him. How many of us hope that when our turn comes, C.S. Lewis will be there waiting for us?
"The Abolition of Man" is a short, pithy, brilliant work, originally lectures, on the natural law and its necessity for good living. It is a pleasure to read/hear such solid, jargon-free prose expressing clearly and without dumbing-down such important ideas.
Robert Whitfield, as usual, reads with clarity and elegance.

52 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim
  • 2005-06-02

IMHO, TGD is Lewis' Best Work of Fiction

It is amazing that such a short work of fiction such as "The Great Divorce" can offer such tremendous insights into not only human nature, but also the question of "How can a loving God allow the existence of hell".

I was absolutely blown away by this book when I was in my late teens/early twenties and now over twenty years later, it remains my favorite among Lewis' works of fiction and still ranks as one of the best 10 books I've ever read.

Lewis' portrayal of hell is extremely fascinating, and in many ways unique, but the strength of the book, in my opinion, is the interaction between the ghosts (redeemed saints) and their former acquaintances from their days of life on earth.

The three that stick most in my mind are the interactions of a murder victim with his murderer (with their present residences a reverse of what you would think), the discussion between two theologians who have come to very different perspectives, and a conversation with a mother who wrestles with forgiving God for the death of her young child.

Besides being Lewis' best work of fiction, I also believe TGD is one of his most accessible among his works of fiction intended for adults.

I cannot recommend "The Great Divorce" highly enough. While having "The Abolition of Man" is a great bonus, TGD is worth the price in and of itself.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom Ewald
  • 2005-07-13

Incredible Reader for a Great Book

I read "The Great Divorce" many years ago. I just finished listening to this recording of it, and I can't imagine how anyone could do a better job of reading it. My being a Lewis fan makes me critical of those who try to interpret him; this reading is incredible.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ranger C-NM
  • 2007-09-05

Fascinating

The Great Divorce was absolutely fascinating and held my attention to the very end. I loved the reader and the content challenged my traditional ideas about eternity. Great book. The Abolition of Man was a little weighty for me however. More philosophical than I care for.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 2007-05-10

Excellent

This book was fantastic for those seeking an interesting, though admittedly not 100% original, view on the afterlife and what happens, and ultimately what choices we have in the eternal destination of our souls.

I found the narrator to be wonderful and clear to understand while giving the reading an authenticity brought on wholly by the fact that he had an English accent.

I am apparently easily pleased in the arena of authenticity.

Anyway, this was a fun and informative and thought provoking listen and I whole heartedly recommend it to anyone that is interested in heaven, C.S. Lewis, Hell or any of the above.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ted Moncure
  • 2006-05-16

Outstanding Truth

C.S. Lewis has a graceful way of illustrating complex truths in an understandable manner. Lewis has a unique insight into the human condition. This book is a quick and entertaining listen, and imparts wisdom that lasts for eternity.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 2006-02-01

Good short listen

Hard to go wrong with C.S. Lewis, and this is no exception. His writing is clean, and simple, but beautifully descriptive. The story unfolds quickly, but even though the puzzle of the "what is going on here" is solved within only a few chapters, the subsequent development is even more intriguing. It's on read/hearing the works of an author like this (as opposed to a modern churner-out-of-chatter) that one experiences just how powerful words can be.

Only two criticisms drop the rating by one star; both minor. First; the narrator is extremely good, but his rendition of the bright ones was sometimes a bit too sombre for my liking. Having read the book years ago, I pictured those people as being of the type who wouldn't even know the meaning of the word "sombre". Second; well, the Scots character was just too "hoots mon, och aye" for me. But that's because I'm a Scot. If you didn't mind Scottie in "Star Trek", you won't mind this guy either.

Either way, it doesn't matter. The words, and the story overwhelm these minor quibbles. Highly recommended.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan Cybulski
  • 2005-10-05

Excellent first audio book

This review is more about my first expereince with audible, and choosing this book as an experiment. This is not a book review, but more of a technical review on how my needs were met by using audible. First of all, Whitfield does an amazing job with his dramatic reading of The Great Divorce, which is the first book read, not sure why the title has it the other way round. The Abolition of Man is also well read, however I find theological readings difficult to concentrate on while driving and I rather enjoy a story to keep me entertained. I use a 4th generation iPod and connect it to my car stereo for my daily commute. I decided to give this "hearing a book" method a try while being couped up in the car for 2 hours a day. Knowing that I would not finish the book on my first drive, I wondered how this audible thing would work out. I delightfully discovered that the iPod would remember my spot in the book after turning the iPod off and/or playing music inbetween, then returning to the book in the audible selection playlist. Also while playing the audio book I also discovered that hitting the centre button reveals a timeline with chapter markers. I can skip ahead/backward by chapters in the book much like a DVD chapter selection for a movie. This is much better than fastforwarding/rewinding method to play favourite/certain chapters. Not sure if this is the same for all audio books, but my experience with The Great Divorce and the Abolition of Man has been extremely satisfying.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Evelyn
  • 2006-11-20

Amazing

CS Lewis at his finest and really fantastic narration. Could not stop listening.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 2005-09-13

A couple more stimulating Lewis reads

Both of these books are excellent, and I loved the reading of them. "Abolition" deals with man's desire to step beyond the Creator's design and create "new" laws of nature. As Lewis points out, this must inevitably lead to the dehumanization of mankind.

IN "The Great Divorce," Lewis once again creates a masterful allegory and challenges us to consider that each decision made in this life has eternal consequences.

I highly recommend this audio book to anyone looking for a few hours of the deep and stimulating reading we've come to expect from C.S. Lewis.

6 people found this helpful