Poor Alex and Martin. Misters King and Ketley had no idea that their forgettable English textbook would unleash one of the twentieth century’s most eloquent and destructive critiques of modernism, with the two of them in the marksman’s crosshairs.
The Control of Language: A Critical Approach to Reading and Writing, was published in 1939 as a textbook for upperform students in British schools. Little did Alex King and Martin Ketley know that their work would catch the ire of Oxford don and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis. But ignite his ire it did, and the result was one of Lewis’ most important books, The Abolition of Man.
In his first chapter, “Men Without Chests”, Lewis graciously gave King and Ketley the pseudonyms Gaius and Titius, and to The Control of Language he gave the title The Green Book. But beyond his civility towards their persons, Lewis gave no quarter when it came to his criticism of their book. For within the book, Lewis found an error that was pernicious and destructive, and one with the power to subvert young minds.
Their error has now become a commonplace in our day. They...