The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil

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HarperCollins Publishers, Jun 15, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 192 pages
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A milestone in the history of popular theology, ‘The Screwtape Letters’ is an iconic classic on spiritual warfare and the power of the devil.

This profound and striking narrative takes the form of a series of letters from Screwtape, a devil high in the Infernal Civil Service, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior colleague engaged in his first mission on earth trying to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian. Although the young man initially looks to be a willing victim, he changes his ways and is ‘lost’ to the young devil.

Dedicated to Lewis’s friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘The Screwtape Letters’ is a timeless classic on spiritual conflict and the invisible realities which are part of our religious experience.

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A delightful philosophical, moral and social analysis that still resonates sopowerfully in 2012 that it confounds the fantasy of human progress. Even though a monologue it evoked comparisons to the style of platonic dialogues, or even Thus Spake Zarathustra. The content echoed Machiavelli in presenting a detailed manual for the manipulation of weak humans to the ends of others. Each letter skewered some social habit or tendency that drifted into evil. The overwhelmingly common and mundane nature of evil (i.e. doing deliberate harm) is instructive in a world where the word is rarely used at all even for the most vile of human acts. Still stands as a wonderfully effective moral primer after so many decades. 

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About the author (2009)

Born in Ireland in 1898, Clive Staples Lewis gained a triple First at Oxford and was Fellow and Tutor at Magdalen College from 1925-54, where he was a contemporary of Tolkien. In 1954 he became Professor of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. C. S. Lewis was for many years an atheist, until his conversion, memorably described in his autobiography ‘Surprised by Joy’: “I gave in, and admitted that God was God ... perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” He is celebrated for his famous series of children’s books, the Narnia Chronicles (which have been filmed and broadcast many times), as well as his literary criticism and science fiction. C. S. Lewis died on 22nd November 1963.

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