The Screwtape Letters is a work of Christian fiction by C. S. Lewis first published in book form in 1942. The story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior tempter named Wormwood, so as to advise him on methods of securing the damnation of an earthly man, known only as "the Patient."
Screwtape (along with his trusted scribe Toadpipe) holds an administrative post in the bureaucracy ("Lowerarchy") of Hell, and acts more as a mentor than a supervisor to Wormwood, the inexperienced tempter; almost every letter ends with the signature, "Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape." In the body of the thirty-one letters which make up the book, Screwtape gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith and promoting sin in his Patient, interspersed with observations on human nature and Christian doctrine.
In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis provides a series of lessons in the importance of taking a deliberate role in living out Christian faith by portraying a typical human life, with all its temptations and failings, as seen from the demon/devil's viewpoint. Wormwood and Screwtape live in a peculiarly morally reversed world, where individual benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good, and neither demon is capable of comprehending or acknowledging true human virtue when he sees it. A preface included in some older publishings of the book included a short dialog on the subject of whether Lewis believed demons to be fact or fiction, exemplifying Lewis' belief that despite the fictional storyline of the book, he believed Satan and demons are not fictional; further, that he held a view that they exist for a decidedly evil purpose which must not be portrayed innocuously in art and culture at the risk of obfuscating their true nature.
Versions of the letters were originally published in The Guardian, and the standard edition contains an introduction explaining how the author chose to write his story.
While The Screwtape Letters is one of Lewis' most popular works, Lewis claimed that the book was distasteful to write, and he vowed never to write a direct sequel. However, in 1959 he wrote an addendum, Screwtape Proposes a Toast, which takes the form not of a letter but rather an after-dinner speech given by Screwtape at the Tempters' Training College for young demons. It first appeared as an article in the Saturday Evening Post. The Screwtape Letters, along with Screwtape Proposes a Toast, has also been released on both audiocassette and CD narrated by John Cleese of Monty Python and Joss Ackland.
HarperOne; New Ed edition (February 6, 2001)
Screwtape's Letters| Posted June 27, 2009
Screwtape writes letters to his nephew Wormwood to give him advice on how to ruin a certain manís life. Wormwood is young and naÔve about how to tempt and claim this manís soul. At first, the man is an atheist but becomes a new Christian and that doesnít seem to worry Screwtape. Screwtape assures Wormwood that not all is lost and that he can still win this very person. Screwtape tells Wormwood all that he can about humans and their weaknesses. One of the things is making sure that the man is annoyed with every little thing that his mother says or does. Since the mother becomes easily irritating to him.
Later on in the letters, Wormwood tells Screwtape that his man has met a woman. Screwtape learns that sheís a very strong Christian and heís annoyed with Wormwood because of it. Screwtape becomes increasingly mad with his nephew as time wears on. (I donít want to give away what happens in the end)
This book by C. S. Lewis has to be one of my favorites now. It was extremely thought-provoking and helpful. It made me really realize the daily spiritual battles that go on every day. The enemy is constantly trying to tempt us with everything that we do. I am glad that I read this book and it was fascinating to read. I highly recommend this book to just about anyone, though some people might find it a bit slow. It is a must read!
Clever and Witty| Posted May 26, 2012
The Screwtape Letters are extremely clever and witty. I have really enjoyed them and would recommend them to anyone. The book has such an interesting view of Christianity as everything Christians believe and cling to are seen through the eyes of Demons who desipe the things of God.
A Demon's Deception| Posted July 20, 2011
As a high school student, you end up reading many books that you don't enjoy. The classics that you have to write several page papers on, often do not capture my interest. When this book assignment was given we read a chapter each week. At the beginning I was just mindlessly reading it but as the year dragged on I found myself really getting into this book. My point of view about demons, of course, had been that they are bad. They are evil ones who aid Satan in his goal of keeping people from coming to Christ. I've seen movies where demons were depicted and none compared to this book. In the book these demons were crafty, they threw things at the unsuspecting man that were temptations in disguise. They targeted his weaknesses and played up on them. Often they turned what seemed harmless into a trap. From this book I learned that the evil one will do anything and I mean anything to keep us from knowing the love of God. Sometimes in order to equip ourselves to fend off these demons we must know how they think and how they may plan to attack us. This book is a great tool for a Christian. C.S. Lewis did an amazing job and his timeless works will live on for ages
Interesting| Posted October 30, 2009
Only CS Lewis could write a book like this. He gives a very interesting perspective that I have never considered before. It got me thinking about all the ways Satan tries to distract us in everyday life.
One of the darkest books ever| Posted July 19, 2009
This book is so dark I love it. But it is so dark I would be afraid to read it if I wasn't a very strong christian. It shows how the devil gets at us. How much demons try to pull us away from God. They try and mess with our most inner psyche. They play at our weaknesses. If you don;t know what yours our you could be in trouble. The book really makes you analyze your own life and see where the devil is leading you astray.
good| Posted June 29, 2008
The Screwtape Letters is a great book. It shows the battle we fight with demons every single day. And it shows it in a different light. Although i will not spoil it for u. Get this book.