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The Screwtape Letters–twisting good into evil

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The Screwtape Letters

by C.S. Lewis

Welcome to the inside-out, topsy turvy world of The Screwtape Letters, correspondence supposedly written by Screwtape, an experienced devil who is mentoring his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter, in the process of keeping the human assigned to him from becoming a Christian and making good choices. The human is considered a “patient.” God is called “the Enemy,” and Satan is referred to as “Our Father Below.” As you can imagine, this short book is not a quick read as you have to turn familiar designations of God and Satan, as well as your whole thought process, around so that the book will make sense.

First published in serial form in a newspaper, it is divided into chapters which are letters generally focused around one topic such as gluttony or humility and gives advice on how to twist things that God has created in beauty and purity into something that will draw the patient away from God and onto sinful paths.

I am glad I read this book, but I didn’t enjoy it in the same way I would an entertaining mystery or a gentle romance. It is quite witty with tongue-in-cheek humor throughout. It challenged my mind and spirit as I tried to decipher C.S. Lewis’ message. Reading The Screwtape Letters is rather like looking into a mirror. Beware! As you see a reflection of yourself in some of the passages, you may be inspired to make changes in your own life that will result in your reflecting God’s image rather than the one Satan would appreciate. With much food for thought, The Screwtape Letters could be read and studied many times, especially over the course of a lifetime, deriving a new depth of meaning applicable to you personally with each reading.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Christian, Fiction

Notes: C.S. Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century. He is the noted author of many works of fiction and nonfiction including The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity. The Screwtape Letters was originally published in 1942.

Publication: 1959—Macmillan Publishing Co. 

Memorable Lines:

All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, “By jove! I’m being humble,” and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear.

Music and silence…how I detest them both!…Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile—Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires.

And since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another.


10 Comments

  1. Carla says:

    I had not heard of this book until sometime last year. There were a few blogs and people I know talking about it. I put it on my TBR, but didn’t make any move to actually acquire it. After reading your review, I am going to talk to my group of ladies from church and see if they would like to do a bookclub with it, over several weeks. Do you think that would work, Linda?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the Screwtape Letters a couple years ago! It is a wonderful book and makes you truly consider your own life!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michelle says:

    I have always wanted to read this, but forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder! I’ll have to grab it soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy says:

    Interesting review my friend. I had heard about this but never looked further into it. Amazing how you said it made you look into oneself. Or reflect.
    Thank you for the review. Enjoy your day my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fascinating…I liked the quote about humility…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lghiggins says:

    It is quite a different examination of the subtleties of the forces of evil. Can you imagine a newspaper today publishing something like that in serial form? Readers must have been fascinated.

    Like

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